Capitals 1, Senators 0
OTTAWA (AP)—Brent Johnson has made up for his lack of playing time this season by facing at least 40 shots in each of his last four starts.
Over his last four games, Johnson has stopped 167 of 176 shots—including a career-high 49 saves in a 5-1 win at Carolina on Wednesday.
“It’s definitely nice and I definitely wanted to be like this from the start of the year,” he said. “Playing a little bit more is helping and I just want to come in here and play my best when they need me.”
Johnson recorded the Capitals’ first shutout of the season and the 13th of his career as he frustrated Ottawa shooters, especially in the third period.
“Definitely one of my best shutouts ever,” Johnson said. “Not including playoffs, this is right up there.”
Senators goalie Ray Emery, coming off an NHL record-tying 12 wins in March, made 31 saves.
“It’s bound to happen that you’re going to run into a hot goaltender every once in a while, but that doesn’t make it less frustrating,” Emery said. “You’d like to think that you can will one in there or just bang and crash or find something.
“Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to the other guy. He was spectacular. We were battling and it was tied most of the game, but special teams will bite you in the butt sometimes. We battled hard in the third period but couldn’t beat him.”
Zubrus scored the only goal of the game after he put a backhand behind Emery with 53 seconds left in the second period. With the Capitals on a power play, rookie Alexander Ovechkin took a shot from just inside the point which Emery stopped, but Zubrus pounced on the rebound.
The Senators had chances up to that point, sending 30 shots at Johnson through 40 minutes. Their best chance to score came on a 50-second 5-on-3 advantage in the second period, when Daniel Alfredsson hit the goal post with a shot from the point.
Earlier in the period, Dany Heatley hit a shot off the crossbar and was stopped twice on one-timers.
“It’s one of those nights where you just walk away and shake your head,” Senators coach Brian Murray said.
Ovechkin picked up an assist on the Zubrus goal and now has 95 points on the year, 12 better than Sydney Crosby.
“We have nine games more, we have to try to win five or six,” Ovechkin said. “We don’t have any pressure right now and we’re enjoying ourselves.”
The Senators (49-17-8) missed an opportunity to move five points up on Carolina for first overall in the Eastern Conference. The Hurricanes lost 5-2 at Atlanta.
Emery finished March with a 12-2-2 mark and tied Bernie Parent of the Philadelphia Flyers, who had 12 wins in the month in 1974. … Ovechkin, who has 48 goals, was scoreless on six shots.