The Capitals, currently the league’s hottest team, won both confrontations between the two clubs by a single goal. They have also earned at least a point in 23 of their last 25 games with a +50 goal differential. The Senators will look for a way to slow them down and exploit any weaknesses. After losing two in a row, the Sens have earned at least a point in six of their last seven games. Not much compared to the Caps, but the Senators have been doing well recently.
Ottawa Senators vs. Washington Capitals
Canadian Tire Centre – 7:30 p.m. EST
Broadcast channels – TSN5 & CSN-DC+
2016-17 Season Series:
January 1 – Capitals won 2-1
January 7 – Capitals won 1-0
Ottawa Senators – 25-15-5 – 55 Points
Home Record: 13-7-5
Hot Players: Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone, Kyle Turris, Zack Smith
Key Absences: Andrew Hammond (ankle), Clarke MacArthur (concussion), Craig Anderson (personal leave), Mark Borowiecki (flu)
Zack Smith – Derick Brassard – Mark Stone
Ryan Dzingel – Kyle Turris – Bobby Ryan
Mike Hoffman* – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Tom Pyatt
Chris Kelly – Curtis Lazar – Chris Neil
*game-time decision due to the flu; will likely be replaced by Casey Bailey if scratched
Marc Methot – Erik Karlsson
Dion Phaneuf – Cody Ceci
Fredrik Claesson – Chris Wideman
Washington Capitals – 32-9-6 – 70 Points
Road Record: 13-4-5
Hot Players: Andre Burakovsky, T.J. Oshie, Matt Niskanen, Evgeny Kuznetsov
Key Absences: John Carlson (lower body)
Alex Ovechkin – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Justin Williams
Brett Connolly – Lars Eller – Andre Burakovsky
Daniel Winnik – Jay Beagle – Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner – Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik – Dmitry Orlov
Taylor Chorney – Nate Schmidt
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] Mike Hoffman has helped carry the Senators’ offence, scoring seven goals in his last seven games. He is tied with Kyle Turris with the most goals on the team, albeit in three fewer games. The Senators hope that he will be healthy enough to play.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] Although the last two meetings between the teams ended in tight, low scoring games, things may be different with this matchup. Both teams are scoring at a high rate, especially the Capitals who have scored 44 goals in the eight games since last playing the Senators. They each have a handful of players on offensive hot streaks, and they will look to those players to keep up the pace.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] During the teams’ two meetings this season, the powerplay was a non-factor on both sides. The fact that the Capitals are near the middle of the league in that category speaks to their production at even strength. They are tied for first in the league with 110 goals for at five-on-five while allowing the least. The Senators are in the bottom third in both categories, so they will need to take extra care at even strength while making the most of their chances.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Capitals’ offence is coming from many sources as they continue to dominate. Since their last game against the Senators, seven Capitals are averaging at least a point per game. Since January 3, Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov are at the top of league scoring.