Capitals coach Peter Laviolette looking for 700th career win against Senators

Washington coach Peter Laviolette can become the 10th coach in NHL history to reach the 700-win mark when the Capitals host the Ottawa Senators in a Super Bowl Sunday matinee.

It would be the second major coaching milestone this season for the 57-year-old native of Franklin, Mass., who passed John Tortorella (673) for most wins by an American-born head coach with a 5-1 victory over the New York Rangers on Oct. 13.

Laviolette looking for career coaching win 700

“For me, you don’t really look at those numbers too much,” said Laviolette, who coached the Carolina Hurricanes to the 2006 Stanley Cup.

“I think any coach, you look at the team and how’s the team’s doing, trying to find success on a nightly basis. If you can do it long enough then I guess you start to hit milestones but to me that’s not the focus of what tomorrow (afternoon) is all about.”

Peter Laviolette 700
Nov 28, 2021; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Washington Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette looks on during the second period against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Washington, which is in fourth place in the Metropolitan Division and currently occupies the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, has lost four consecutive regulation home contests. It’s the team’s longest home regulation losing streak since 2007 (Oct. 26-Nov. 26) when the Capitals lost six straight on home ice.

“It’s a home game and we haven’t been doing so well at home,” said Laviolette. “We’ve got to straighten that out. So I’d be really happy with a win at home in front of our fans but not necessarily for (getting his 700th coaching win).

“The milestones, they happen. I’ve worked with some great players and great coaches along the way so I’ve been real fortunate.”

Capitals and Sens struggling

Ironically, Washington’s last victory on home ice came against Ottawa on Jan. 22. The Capitals rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie it on a pair of Alex Ovechkin goals in the third period and then won it at 1:13 into overtime on a goal by Nicklas Backstrom.

Ovechkin has scored eight goals in his last four games against the Senators and 12 over the last 10 games.

Ottawa will be playing its fifth game over a seven-day span and comes in off back-to-back 2-0 losses, including one on Saturday afternoon at home against Boston. The Senators haven’t scored over the last 157 minutes and six seconds after scoring four times in the first 23 minutes of a 4-3 victory over Carolina on Tuesday.

Boston jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a Trent Frederic goal just 45 seconds into the game. Curtis Lazar made it 2-0 with a goal midway through the period and Ottawa, outshot 22-8 in the opening period, didn’t have any answers after that.

“We just weren’t ready to play,” said Senators winger Nick Paul. “We knew they were going to be coming in hot and ready (after a 6-0 home loss to Carolina on Thursday) and we just didn’t match their compete level. That’s not the identity that we want.”

“They came out really hungry and we weren’t ready,” said Ottawa coach D.J. Smith. “Obviously the first shift they score. … That starts us on the wrong foot.”

How do the Senators put an end to their scoreless drought?

“You’ve got to get pucks to the net,” said Smith. “Our (defensemen have) got to find more ways to get shots on the net. I didn’t think we broke out very good so we didn’t have the puck on our stick. Early on we had some plays that were available and we didn’t make them. When you don’t score, you squeeze it a little more. … We’re just having a tough time scoring.”

–Field Level Media