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Sens wary of Capitals' threat

Ottawa must be a force united on defence to contain Ovechkin and Co.

Tuesday, 11.4.2008 / 12:08 PM ET / Features
By Rob Brodie  - OttawaSenators.com
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Sens wary of Capitals\' threat
On the night America elects its next president, the Ottawa Senators will cast a vote for a strong, united defensive front.

Really, they've got little choice in that area. Not with Alex Ovechkin and the explosive Washington Capitals paying a visit to Scotiabank Place on Tuesday night (7:30 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet East, Team 1200).

After dropping all four games to the Caps last season – and being outscored 22-12 in the process – the Senators are well aware of the challenge they'll face tonight. No doubt they also vividly recall the four-goal outing Ovechkin enjoyed in an 8-6 Washington triumph here last December.

"They're a team that plays with great energy offensively and if you don't match that with your defensive energy, they're going to make you play," head coach Craig Hartsburg said after the Senators' pre-game skate this morning. "If we can match that and then try to turn some pucks over, we should be able to get some chances.

"It is a chore. (Ovechkin) is not an easy guy to contain and it's going to take all five guys on the ice to make sure they're responsible."

Meaning more of the structured defensive play the Senators showed in road victories over the Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers last week is paramount against Ovechkin, who is back in the Washington lineup after missing two games last week to be with his ailing grandfather in Russia.

"We've got to be smart and, coming home off a road trip, be ready to play and be focused," said centre Mike Fisher, whose line figures to see plenty of duty against Ovechkin tonight. "(The Capitals) always play us tough and we know we're going to have to have our best (effort).

"We're going to focus tonight on shutting down some of their top guys and being hard to play against."

Added captain Daniel Alfredsson: "The neutral zone is crucial. Don't give them a lot of time and space. If we back-check hard and clog up the neutral zone, we're going to hopefully frustrate them. They've got so much skill, they'll probably create some chances but we've got to limit them."

A night to salute our troops

Tonight's game has been designated as Canadian Forces Appreciation Night. More than 2,250 members of the Canadian Forces and their families will be in attendance at the game, thanks to ticket donations by CF supporters and Senators fans. A number of in-game activities are planned as a salute to our armed forces personnel.

Around the boards

12 on 'em - Fisher Goal Song, a popular recording by Thousand Foot Krutch, can be yours starting tonight at The Sens Store at Scotiabank Place. The CD sells for $5, with 100 per cent of the proceeds being donated to Roger's House through the Sens Foundation ... Four Senators are on the XM/NHL All-Star Fan Ballot for the 2009 game, to be played Jan. 25 at Montreal's Bell Centre. The group includes forwards Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza and defenceman Chris Phillips. Balloting opens Nov. 12 ... Alex Auld (3-2-1) will make his sixth straight start in the Senators net ... Defenceman Luke Richardson is tonight's healthy scratch ... Fewer than 1,500 tickets remain for the game.

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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
2 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
3 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
4 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
5 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
6 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
7 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
8 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Karlsson 54 11 48 9 59
B. Ryan 53 19 26 -2 45
M. Hoffman 50 23 18 5 41
M. Stone 52 16 25 -10 41
M. Zibanejad 53 11 22 -1 33
K. Turris 48 13 17 -11 30
J. Pageau 54 13 10 6 23
Z. Smith 53 11 5 7 16
C. Ceci 47 5 11 -1 16
C. Lazar 49 5 9 0 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Anderson 22 17 4 .914 2.86
A. Hammond 3 5 2 .900 3.10