October 15, 2011: 7:00 pm, CBC, Team 1200
The Ottawa Senators look to erase the memory of a horrible effort on Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche when they take on the other Nation’s Capital on Saturday night. That’s right, they take on Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals, who have a perfect 3-0-0 record after defeating the rival Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in overtime on Thursday night.
Alex Auld will get the start in the Ottawa net for his first action of the year. Craig Anderson gets a night off after his less than stellar start to the season. Bobby Bulter will miss the game with a groin injury suffered in Thursday’s loss, and although he was cleared for contact, Jesse Winchester is not ready for game action. This means that Zenon Konopka and Eric Condra will likely be put into the lineup. Paul MacLean could go with 7 defensemen again, but after Thursday’s debacle I think that experiment might be put on the shelf for a while.
Players To Watch
OTTAWA – Erik Karlsson – For all his defensive struggles in the early going, the Senators blueliner sits tied for second in league scoring with 6 assists in 4 games. However, his -3 rating leaves room for concern, and if he is truly going to become a top level defenseman, he needs to focus more in his own end, lest he become the next Marc-Andre Bergeron (power play specialist who bounces around from team to team) later in his career.
WASHINGTON – Alex Ovechkin – A death in the family and a trip to Russia for the funeral kept the Russian Machine’s focus off hockey early on. However, a game against the rival Penguins was just what the doctor ordered as he showed the bounce was back in his game. He scored his first goal of the season against the Pens and he must be salivating at the prospect of facing a struggling Ottawa defense tonight.
OTTAWA’S KEYS TO VICTORY
1. Alex Auld – Auld came to town with the expectation that he would play 15-20 games as an occasional starter. He has the opportunity tonight to cause a goaltending controversy with a stellar game, that could earn him more playing time, especially with Anderson’s slow start. Auld needs to take advantage of the opportunity no matter what the D does in front of him.
2. Phillips/Cowen – This duo will be counted on to shut down the Capitals’ big guns. Their inability to do so will result in another long night for Sens fans, while if they can close the door and give Auld some suppport, the Senators have a chance.
3. Keep the game close as long as you can- Despite being 3-0 on the season, all of the games Washington has played have gone beyond 60 minutes. With 2 OT wins and a shootout victory, Washington will be looking to put up goals early and often to win in regulation. Keeping it close may frustrate them and get them off their game.
Check back here on SenShot for a complete game recap after the game.
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