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Karlsson, Senators beat Caps 2-1 to reach playoffs

Friday - 4/26/2013, 3:21am  ET

Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson (65), of Sweden, skates during warm ups before an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

HOWARD FENDRICH
AP Sports Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- For the third time in three tries this season, Daniel Alfredsson and the Ottawa Senators used their stingy style of play to beat the Washington Capitals.

The latest victory assured the Senators of a trip to the playoffs.

And guess who Ottawa might face in a best-of-seven series starting next week?

Sergei Gonchar scored a power-play goal 47 seconds into overtime on Erik Karlsson's second assist of his successful and sooner-than-anticipated return from a torn Achilles tendon, and Ottawa beat Washington 2-1 on Thursday night, putting the teams in line for a possible postseason meeting.

"This is what you fight for all year -- to get into the playoffs," Alfredsson said. "No matter who you play, it's going to be a tough series. Everybody poses different challenges, and I think we're the same way: We pose different challenges to other teams."

Particularly, it seems, the Capitals.

Ottawa swept the teams' season series, giving up a combined four goals in the three games and limiting Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin to one point. That happened to come Thursday, when his league-leading 32nd goal tied the game 1-1 about 8
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