Capitals must contend with surging Senators
Monday, 11.23.2009 / 7:30 PM
CAPITALS (13-5-5) AT SENATORS (11-6-3)
Washington 5-3-2; Ottawa 5-4-1
This is the first of four meetings. In 2008-09, Ottawa and Washington split the season series, each winning twice on home ice. The Capitals outscored the Senators 15-10, five goals coming from Alex Ovechkin
, who scored a hat trick in the final matchup. Alexander Semin
and Mike Green
added two goals each. Goalie Brent Johnson posted two wins. Ottawa's Dany Heatley scored goals in three of the four games and finished with four, Daniel Alfredsson
added two goals, and goalies Alex Auld and Brian Elliott
each posted a win.
The No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference visits the No. 6 team and both are headed in opposite directions. The Capitals are coming off a disappointing loss on Saturday that produced some very upset quotes from players, while the Senators have won three straight, scoring 14 goals in their last three games and 11 in their last two.
This is the second game of a two-game road trip that began with a 2-1 shootout loss against Toronto on Saturday.
Washington was missing seven regulars (Alexander Semin
, Mike Knuble
, Boyd Gordon
, Quintin Laing
, Milan Jurcina
, Tom Poti
and Shaone Morrisonn
) because of injury. Coach Bruce Boudreau was forced to play five rookies (Jay Beagle
, Mathieu Perreault
, Andrew Gordon
, John Carlson
and Semyon Varlamov
"We looked pretty tired," Boudreau told the Washington Post
. "Some of the guys were dragging. Sometimes there's a bad one point and sometimes there's a good one point. I think tonight we were lucky to come away with one point, and it was a good point for us."
"I thought we did come out flat and had some flat moments when they picked it up," captain Chris Clark
told the Washington Post
. "It is a point, but it's not a happy point."
"We're going to catch our breath (Sunday), get to Ottawa and get a good night sleep, get some good food in us," defenceman Brian Pothier
said. "Then play a pretty good team Monday."
This is the final game in a five-game homestand that includes a 6-2 win against Pittsburgh and a 5-3 victory against Buffalo.
Against the Sabres, Alfredsson had two goals and an assist and Filip Kuba
had a goal and three assists. Chris Kelly
and Milan Michalek
also scored goals.
"I think it's confidence and a little bit of luck," Alfredsson said of the Senators' current three-game win streak. "We're playing with more confidence and you can feel it in the locker room. When you score five like (Saturday), you've got to be happy."
Elliott started the third for the Senators after starter Pascal Leclaire
left the game with a lower-body injury as a result of a collision in the second period with Jochen Hecht. Hecht fell over Leclaire and afterward the goalie seemed to favor his left leg. He finished with 24 saves. Elliott gets the call to start tonight.
Winger Alexei Kovalev
will miss this game as a healthy scratch. He left the team late last week to return to Russia because of the death of his mother-in-law. Ryan Shannon
replaces Kovalev on a line with Mike Fisher
and Nick Foligno
For the Capitals, Green has a goal and nine assists in his last six games, and Brooks Laich
has six goals and nine assists in his last 15 games. For the Senators, Fisher has two goals and four assists in his last three games, Alexandre Picard
has four assists in his last three games, and Michalek has three goals in his last three games.
For the Capitals, forwards Gordon (back), Knuble (finger), Semin (wrist) and Laing (broken jaw), and defenceman Jurcina (lower-body) are on injured reserve, and defencemen Morrisonn (upper-body) and Poti (upper-body) are day-to-day. For the Senators, defenceman Anton Volchenkov
(right elbow) is on injured reserve and forward Shean Donovan
(knee) is sidelined indefinitely.
Ottawa has a 38-7-4-2 record in 51 regular-season games when defenceman Chris Phillips
scores a goal … Ovechkin has had only four games without a point … Washington has scored the first goal of the game 18 times in 23 contests so far … Washington has outscored opponents by a combined 27-11 in the first period this season.
"I'm not happy with how I played (Saturday), and I'm not happy with how my line played (Saturday)," Ovechkin told the Washington Times
. "Yeah, we score one goal, but we have to score more. If we have more ice time than everybody, then we have to use it."