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Very few teams have had success this season against the Ottawa Senators. The Washington Capitals are part of that exclusive group.
The Capitals look to make it three wins in as many games this season against the Eastern Conference leaders when the teams conclude a home-and-home series Tuesday at the Verizon Center.
Ottawa (25-9-4) only has nine regulation losses and Washington (15-19-5) is responsible for two of them. The Capitals, the only team to boast two wins this season over the Senators, have won five of the last seven meetings after losing seven of the previous eight.
Alexander Ovechkin continued his torrid scoring with his first four-goal game, and Michael Nylander scored twice in Washington's 8-6 victory Saturday at Ottawa.
Ovechkin, who has seven goals and three assists during a six-game point streak, needed stitches to close a leg cut in Thursday's 4-3 overtime loss in Pittsburgh.
"What impresses me most is that he actually played tonight," Capitals goalie Olaf Kolzig said. "If you guys would have seen the gash on his leg and I know a lot of guys were, not begging him but leaning towards, 'Hey, you think you can play tonight?' He had a lot of courage and he put on a heck of a show."
Ovechkin has nine goals and seven assists in 10 career games against the Senators.
Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin each had a goal and two assists Saturday for Washington, which has at least one point in nine of 11 games (6-2-3).
The Capitals are 9-5-4 since Bruce Boudreau was hired to replace Glen Hanlon as coach on Nov. 22. They have moved out of last place in the Southeast Division, two points ahead of Tampa Bay.
Semin has picked up his play after dealing with an ankle injury earlier this season. He has four goals and three assists in his last seven games after totaling only five points in his first 15 contests.
Saturday's loss ended a three-game win streak for the Senators, who dropped to 9-2-1 in their last 12.
The eight goals were the most allowed by Ottawa since an 8-3 loss at Atlanta on Jan. 2, 2006.
"We've got to do more ourselves. We couldn't pass the puck," Senators coach John Paddock told the team's official Web site. "And if we're dumb enough to pay no attention to Alex Ovechkin again, the result will be the same."
Although he gave up a career-worst seven goals, Martin Gerber will be back in net Tuesday. He had surrendered three goals or fewer in his previous nine appearances.
"Gerbs has the ability to bounce back. If he didn't have that ability, he wouldn't be a goaltender at this level," Paddock said.
Lost in Saturday's defeat was another big offensive performance by the Senators, who are second in the NHL with 136 goals scored.
Spezza has nine goals and 11 assists during a 10-game point streak, Heatley has three goals and six assists in his last five games while Alfredsson has four goals and two assists in his four-game streak.