OTTAWA -- Veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar capped a three-goal rally with a blast from the point to give the Ottawa Senators a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals Tuesday night at Scotiabank Place.
Gonchar's first of the season came with just 2:30 left in the third.
Ottawa's record improved to 4-1-1 while the Capitals dropped to 1-4-1.
Senators goalie Craig Anderson preserved the win by robbing Mike Ribeiro with 40 seconds to play.
Anderson wound up making 31 saves while Capitals goalie Michal Neuvirth stopped 34 shots.
The Senators fully recovered from a two goal deficit when Milan Michalek scored at 2:20 of the third. Ottawa center Kyle Turris had actually lost the faceoff in the Capitals zone to Nicklas Backstrom, but Michalek jumped forward and released a backhand that went just inside the far post.
The Senators fourth line capitalized with 1:23 to go in the second period to begin the comeback.
Starting the play was former top round pick Mika Zibanejad, who was playing his first NHL game of the season after being summoned from the farm team a day earlier. Finishing it, after taking a feed in the slot from Erik Condra, was Jim O'Brien, who was celebrating his 24th birthday.
It was O'Brien's second goal of the season and fifth in 40 NHL games.
The Capitals Troy Brower and Matt Hendricks each tallied their second of the season in the opening period. Brower banged a shot in off goalie Craig Anderson's pad after rookie defenseman Patrick Wiercioch was beaten in the Ottawa zone.
Hendricks scored on a redirection of a harmless looking shot by defenseman John Erskine.
NOTES: Opposing each other for the first time as head coaches, Adam Oates and Paul MacLean go way back. On June 15, 1989, they were traded together by the Detroit Red Wings to the St. Louis Blues for Bernie Federko and Tony McKegney. And during the 2002-03 season, Oates played for an Anaheim Mighty Ducks team on which MacLean was an assistant coach. "I was an older guy," said Oates. "Our relationship was great." As it was when they were teammates. "I like to say I made him a millionaire, but he might have already had it before then," joked MacLean. ... Senators top center Jason Spezza missed the game with an "upper body" injury ... The Senators entered the game 33-33-5-4 all-time against Washington. ... Capitals sniper Alex Ovechkin, a right-handed shot, couldn't be happier about being back on left wing. "When I was on the right side I was a little confused, a little lost," Ovechkin said of Oates' failed experiment. "We made some changes, I talked to Oatsie, told him I'm more comfortable playing left side than right side." Ovechkin scored just one goal in team's first five games.