The Capitals Look to Cut Inconsistencies Against Senators

Image result for capitals senators january 1

The Capitals continue their four-game homestand with their annual Thanksgiving eve contest at Capital One Arena. A mere one point separates these teams in the standings for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Capitals will host the Ottawa Senators in the second of three meetings this season. Washington downed Ottawa in the first meeting of the season 5-4 in a shootout thanks to an Alex Ovechkin hat trick. Ottawa will also visit Washington on February 27, the Capitals’ final game before they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs at Navy Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis in the 2018 Stadium Series on March 3. 

Ottawa Senators

The Senators look to improve upon their 4-4-2 record in their past 10 games and are coming off a 3-0 loss at the hands of the New York Rangers on Sunday. They are in the midst of a 3-game road trip and will finish it off in Columbus on Friday.

Since these two teams last met, the Senators were involved in one of the biggest trades of the past year. The Senators acquired center Matt Duchene from the Colorado Avalanche in a three-way deal that also involved sending center Kyle Turris to the Nashville Predators. The Avalanche got a haul of picks and prospects from each the Senators and the Predators, getting goaltender Andrew Hammond, a 2018 First Round Pick, a 2019 3rd Round Pick, and the Senators’ first-round draft pick in 2017, defenseman Shane Bowers. Colorado also received 2016 second round pick defenseman Sam Girard and 2014 second round pick forward Vladislav Kamenev from the Predators. Duchene has been held off of the score sheet and has a -6 rating in his first five games in a Senators’ uniform. In 11 career games against Washington, he has just been held to a goal and four points along with a -8 rating.

The Senators have dropped their past three contests, going 0-2-1. They have just scored 3 goals in that span.

The Senators were one of the biggest surprises last season, going all the way to the Eastern Conference Final. They also gave the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins trouble, despite losing in double overtime in Game 7 to the defending champs.

Erik Karlsson missed the first game that these two teams met due to recovering from offseason surgery. He will be in the lineup tonight. The Senators’ captain has a goal and 17 points in 14 games this season.

Craig Anderson will get the start for the Senators. He is 7-5-3 with an .899 save percentage and a 2.86 goals against average. The 36-year-old goaltender made 28 saves on 32 shots faced back on October 5 against Washington.

Washington Capitals

The Capitals are looking for more consistency going into Wednesday night’s tilt. After going 5-1-0 in their first six games of the month, Washington has lost 3 of their past 4. Their six-game home ice win streak was snapped by the Calgary Flames, who skated away with a 4-1 victory on Monday night.

The Capitals have won 8 of their past 10 dates with the Senators, going 8-1-1 in that span.

The Capitals will start a three-game stretch against Atlantic Division opponents against the Senators on Wednesday night. They will face the conference-leading Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday evening and will take on the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night.

The Capitals will begin the second half of their four-game homestand against the Senators on Wednesday. After allowing the first goal in three straight games, the Capitals have scored the first goal in their past two and have gotten off to fast starts in each game. They will look to continue that on Wednesday.

The Capitals are barely hanging on to the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference and will look to hold onto it on Wednesday. The Senators’ are a point behind them in the standings.

Braden Holtby will get the nod in net. He is 11-5-0 with a .919 save percentage and a 2.66 goals against average. In 11 career games against the Senators, he is 7-3-1 with a .932 save percentage and a 2.08 save percentage. He had a shutout against the Senators last season.

Skate Shavings:

-Alex Ovechkin has 26 goals and 43 points in 41 career games against the Senators

-Tom Wilson has 3 assists in his past 5 games

-John Carlson has 6 points (1 goal, 5 assists) in his past 6 games

A Look Back in Time

Alex Ovechkin scored his 500th and 501st career goals against the Ottawa Senators on January 10, 2016. The Capitals won the game 7-1, with him being named as first star of the game. Justin Williams, T.J. Oshie, Zach Sill, Dmitry Orlov, and Tom Wilson also scored for the Capitals. Nicklas Backstrom added 3 assists in a historic game at 7th and F street. Ovechkin scored a hat trick in the Capitals’ 5-4 shootout victory against the Senators earlier this season.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was seeing T.J. Oshie's hat-trick​ during Game 1 of the Caps' second round playoff series against Pittsburgh in 2016. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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