The Washington Capitals did everything right in their 6-2 win over the New Jersey Devils to close out 2016. Not only did they get scoring from all four forward lines, but they played a strong defensive game and kept momentum through all three periods. The Capitals hope that their firepower can ensure them a win over the Senators.
Ottawa didn’t ring in the New Year on the best note, despite festivities Thursday as they retired Daniel Alfredsson’s jersey. After falling in overtime to the Detroit Red Wings, the Senators found themselves in the midst of a two-game slide, and are looking to start the new year off with a victory.
Ottawa Senators at Washington Capitals
Verizon Center – 7:30 p.m. EST
Broadcast channels – CSNMA, TVAS, SN
2015-16 Season Series:
Dec. 16- Senators 1 Capitals 2
Jan. 10- Senators 1 Capitals 7
March 22 – Capitals 4 Senators 2
Washington Capitals: 21-9-5, 47 Points
Home Record: 12-5-1
Hot Players: Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Justin Williams
Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Justin Williams
Marcus Johansson-Nicklas Backstrom-T.J. Oshie
Brett Conolly-Lars Eller-Andre Burakovsky
Daniel Winnik-Jay Beagle-Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner-John Carlson
Dmitri Orlov- Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik-Taylor Chorney
Ottawa Senators – 20-12-4, 44 Points
Away Record: 9-7-0
Hot Players: Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone, Erik Karlsson
Key Injuries: Clarke MacArthur, Andrew Hammond, Craig Anderson, Zack Smith
Ryan Dzingel-Kyle Turris-Bobby Ryan
Mike Hoffman-Derick Brassard-Mark Stone
Tom Pyatt-Jean-Gabriel Pageau-Chris Kelly
Casey Bailey-Curtis Lazar-Chris Neil
Marc Methot-Erik Karlsson
Dion Phaneuf-Cody Ceci
Mark Borowiecki-Chris Wideman
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]The Capitals reassigned forward Jakub Vrana to the Hershey Bears Sunday after a drop in performance. Vrana put up a goal and three points in 12 games up with Washington this season. Head coach Barry Trotz told the media that the NHL was not a “developmental league,” justifying his decision to demote Vrana back to the AHL. Brett Connolly will draw back in to replace the 20-year-old winger, and Vrana will hopefully benefit more from top minor-league minutes than time in the NHL press box.
Jakub Vrana just walked by the media room in Kettler and waved bye.
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) January 1, 2017
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap]Alex Ovechkin seems to be finding his scoring touch, and has a goal in three of his last five games. By the same token, his linemates in Evgeny Kuznetsov and Justin Williams are also staying hot, and the Capitals top line has combined for 11 points in their last five games. They will be vital in providing offense against the Senators, who allow 2.6 goals per game on average.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap]Chris Kelly and Derick Brassard will both reach important milestones in their careers Sunday. Kelly will suit up for his 500th NHL game, while Brassard will play his 600th NHL game. Kelly is looking to bust a nine-game goalless drought, and Brassard hopes to continue his hot streak, having scored points in three of his last five games.
— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) January 1, 2017
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap]Mike Hoffman has been hot for Ottawa of late and is riding a three-game point streak. Over his last five games, Hoffman has a goal and four assists. Linemate Mark Stone is looking to extend his point streak to three games and has five points in his last five games as well.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap]Mike Condon will start between the pipes for the Senators, and has won four of his last six starts. However, he appears to have struggled against Washington in three career games, going 1-2 and posting a 3.05 GAA and .898 save percentage. Braden Holtby will get the nod for the Capitals and is 4-3-1 in his career against Ottawa, boasting a 2.25 GAA and .929 save mark.
Sammi Silber covers the Capitals beat for The Hockey Writers and is an NHL contributor with Sporting News. She has also contributed to USA TODAY College, Huffington Post, FanSided and the Nation Network. Silber has written four books and recently worked on graphics for the film, The California Golden Seals Movie.