WASHINGTON (AP) — Instead of high-powered forwards Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson, two defensemen who rarely score came with big goals in the Washington Capitals' 2-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Sunday night.
Taylor Chorney broke a tie early in the third period with his first goal of the season, beating goalie Mike Condon through a screen. Chorney has three goals in 130 NHL games in parts of seven seasons.
As Chorney was taking the ice for the third period, he turned to fellow defenseman Karl Alzner, who tied the game with 20 seconds left in the second period, and jokingly said he would get a vital goal.
"I wasn't expecting to go out there and score, but I did. When we walked out, I said, 'It would be nice to get the first of the year on a game-winner.' It worked out," Chorney said.
Two of his three NHL goals have been winners. His first came on Feb. 15, 2011, when he was playing for Edmonton.
"Up here, you just try and go out and be reliable and if you get a chance to just score a few goals, you take them," Chorney said.
Chorney has played well in his rare appearances with the Capitals. Since his Nov. 11 recall from Hershey of the AHL, he's appeared in seven games, and Washington is 6-0-1, and his coach was appreciative.
"Guys were cheering. We're all happy for him," Washington coach Barry Trotz said. "There are certain things guys doing really well. Scoring for Taylor is probably not one of them, and when he does get one it's special for everyone."
Alzner has been impressed with Chorney. The 29-year-old scored one goal with the Capitals in 55 games last season.
"He's unique. It's a super hard position to be in, the one that he's in right now. He doesn't get to play a whole lot. Every game he's played, he's been not just good. He's been great," Alzner said.
Braden Holtby stopped 23 shots for Washington
Kyle Turris scored for Ottawa at 12:41 of the second period to give the Senators a 1-0 lead. Heading into a five-day break, the Senators have lost three straight for the first time this season.
"I can't go sit on a beach somewhere and be content with this, so I'm going to go back to Ottawa and get on the ice and work," Condon said.
The most unsettling time for Washington came midway through the third period when center Evgeny Kuznetsov and defenseman Brooks Orpik were called for penalties. But, the Capitals survived the two-man deficit. Washington has not surrendered a power-play goal in the past seven games — 28 power plays in all.
Ottawa coach Guy Boucher doesn't like heading into a long break with three straight losses. It's the defenseman scoring that irked him.
"Those two goals are goals that we gave away. When it's one, you might get away with it, when it's two, it comes back to haunt you," Boucher said.
NOTES: Washington sent F Jakub Vrana to Hershey of the AHL. . Ottawa C Craig Kelly played in his 500th game for the Senators while C Derrick Brassard played in his 600th NHL game. ... Senators C Zack Smith was out for the second straight game with an abdominal injury.
Senators: After five days off, host the Capitals on Saturday in the first of four consecutive home games.
Capitals: Host Toronto on Tuesday night in the second of three straight home games. The Maple Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-4 on Sunday in the outdoor Centennial Classic.