For the first time in a while, the Ottawa Senators face off with a day’s rest against a team who played the night before and could be tired after traveling.
Canadian Tire Centre
TV: Rogers Sportsnet; RADIO: TSN1200
The Senators and Capitals have faced each other once this season, with Ottawa winning the opener 6-4. Bobby Ryan scored twice for the Senators and Zack Smith had the winner.
While the Senators beat the Bruins in the back half of their post-Christmas home and home series 4-3 on Saturday night, the Captials dropped a 2-1 decision in a shootout in Buffalo on Sunday evening.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Nicklas Backstrom, WAS – While Alex Ovechkin and his 30 goals has been the talk of the Capitals, it has been Backstrom that has led the club in points and sits tied for 3rd in the league with 44 points in 39 games. He has 10 goals and 34 assists, and his -4 rating is much better than Oveckhin’s -14 mark.
Erik Karlsson, OTT – While his offense has returned to near Norris Trophy form, Karlsson’s defensive play leaves a lot to be desired, and as a result he finds himself removed from important situations in games. The mistakes he is making are not skill related or injury related, they are mental mistakes and there is no excuse for them.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
1) Eastern Success – The Senators are 5-2 this season in games against the top 5 clubs in the East – PIT, WAS, BOS, TB and MTL. They seem to be able to play up to the level of that competiton.
2) Consistency – Ottawa is still looking for their first back to back win in a month and a half. Win one, lose one is getting old. The Capitals also haven’t been consistent as of late, not winning back to back in 8 games.
3) Shut Down Ovie – Alex Ovechkin eats the Senators alive, with 19 goals and 36 points in 30 career games against Ottawa. If they can shut down the Great 8, they have a better chance of winning this game.
The Senators have had a decent track record lately of playing well when faced with an injury depleted lineup. Key injuries to Jason Spezza and Chris Phillips will keep them out of the lineup again against the Caps, so there will be pressure on the likes of Kyle Turris and his line to lead the way again.