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Though the Washington Capitals have been dealing with a rash of injuries lately, they've continued to play well and have remained atop the Southeast Division.
Following a victory over the top team in the Eastern Conference, the Capitals try to continue their dominant play at home Friday night when they face the Ottawa Senators.
Washington (16-10-3) has won five of its last eight games despite the absences of forwards Sergei Fedorov (ankle), Chris Clark (forearm) and Tomas Fleischmann (undisclosed), as well as top defenseman Mike Green (shoulder).
The Capitals also returned two ailing players for Wednesday's 3-1 home victory over East-leading Boston as Alexander Semin was back after missing 12 contests with a back injury, and defenseman Tom Poti played following a six-game break with a groin injury.
"It's always nice to get people back," said Brent Johnson, who made 33 saves to win his third straight decision. "Get our squad back together."
Johnson has been instrumental in keeping Washington atop the Southeast. He has a 1.33 goals-against average during his win streak, and figures to be back in net Friday as he's 4-1-1 with a 1.89 GAA in seven career games against Ottawa (10-11-5).
Offseason acquisition Jose Theodore, meanwhile, has allowed 17 goals on 158 shots in losing four of his last five outings versus the Senators.
"I don't have a controversy by any stretch, but, you know, you want to ride the hot hand. Johnnie's hot right now," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said.
It might not matter which goalie faces Ottawa as Washington's offense ranks among the best in the league with 91 goals. Leading the way is Alexander Ovechkin, who had a goal and an assist versus Boston and has totaled 29 of his team-high 37 points over the last 16 games.
Ovechkin has 10 goals and nine assists in 13 career games versus the Senators, but was held without a point in a 2-1 overtime loss at Ottawa on Nov. 4.
Semin, second on the team with 13 goals and 28 points, has four goals and seven assists in nine lifetime matchups.
Ovechkin also has eight goals and seven assists during a seven-game point streak at home, where the Capitals have outscored opponents 47-26 while posting an 11-1-1 record. They've outscored the Senators 20-10 in winning the last four meetings at Verizon Center.
Ottawa hasn't shut out a team all season, but was blanked for the second time in 2008-09 on Wednesday, 2-0 at Chicago. Martin Gerber turned in a solid 28-save effort in his first start since Nov. 7, but his team's offense continued to sputter.
The Senators faltered on all six power-play chances Wednesday, including a two-man advantage in the second period, to fall to 2-for-15 over their last six games (3-2-1).
"We've got a four-minute power play and a 5-on-3 and we've got to come up with something," Ottawa coach Craig Hartsburg said. "We're standing still. We've got to move, the puck's got to move."
Ottawa has scored a league-low 63 goals, a number in stark contrast to last season when it was second in the NHL with 261.
Despite Gerber's strong showing versus Chicago, Alex Auld is expected back in net on Friday, according to the Senators' official Web site. Auld, who has a 1.95 GAA in winning four of his last six starts, is 3-2-1 with a 2.27 GAA in seven career games against Washington.