The Capitals had a much deserved day off on Friday, following their decisive 5-0 victory over the streaking Columbus Blue Jackets. The Caps now take the show on the road for a two-game set north of the border on Saturday and Monday. The set starts with a rematch with the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night, and concludes in Montreal on Monday.
The Senators (20-13-4) had their bye-week this week, and haven’t played since their 2-1 loss at Verizon Center on Sunday. The Senators currently reside in second place in the Atlantic Division, 10 points behind the first place Canadiens. Ottawa is minus 4 in goal differential through 37 games.
The Senators power play continues to struggle a bit, currently ranked 23rd in the league with a 16% conversion rate. Their power play went 0-4 against the Caps vaunted PK on Saturday night. However, the Senators penalty kill shut down both Capitals power plays on Sunday, and is currently ranked 13th in the league with a 82.5 success rate.
The Sens remain in the bottom third of the league in shot attempts per game with an average of 28.8 per game. Ottawa is yielding the 12 most shots per game with an average of 30.5 per game.
The Capitals will be looking for their 5th straight win on Saturday night. With the huge win against the Blue Jackets, and games against Montreal and Pittsburgh looming on the near horizon next week, it could be fairly easy for the Caps to lose a little focus for this game.
The Capitals offense is starting to show signs of waking up, scoring 19 goals in the last 4 games. The only team to keep them under five goals were the Ottawa Senators on new years day (2). The Capitals are currently +27 in goals differential through 38 games.
On the flip side, the penalty kill has been pretty consistent, with the exception of the Toronto game, in which they gave up two power play goals.
The penalty kill is currently ranked third in the league with an 86.9% success rate, for a combined special teams index of 103.6.
Washington is 10th in the league in shots per game with an average of 30.4. The Capitals are doing fairly well in shots against per game with an average of 27.9 per game, good enough for 6th best in the league.
The Capitals had better quickly shift gears from the Columbus game, as the Senators will be looking to avenge their loss to the Capitals last Sunday. It will be interesting to see if we get another defensive battle, like we did in the matchup on new years day. As noted, the Senators have been off for their bye-week since the two teams last met in Washington. The Capitals will try to get on the board early against the Senators, and take advantage of any potential sluggishness the Sens may encounter due to their lengthy layoff.
- The Capitals called up Liam O’Brien on Friday. The call-up is for emergency purposes on the Caps two-game road trip.
- Braden Holtby botched his 4th shutout on Thursday night against the Blue Jackets. Holtby had a total of 3 shutouts all of last season.
By Jon Sorensen