Caps visit Senators seeking win streak

( – The Washington Capitals try to build off a win against
the defending Stanley Cup champions when they take aim at a second straight
victory in Thursday’s road clash against the Ottawa Senators.

The Capitals halted a two-game slide and won for just the second time in eight
outings when they blanked the Los Angeles Kings, 4-0, in Tuesday’s home
contest against the reigning champs.

Braden Holtby made 27 saves for his sixth shutout of the season, putting him
one behind Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury for the NHL lead in shutouts.

Troy Brouwer had two goals, Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and an assist and
Eric Fehr lit the lamp for the Capitals, who had dropped six of seven coming
into the game.

“Our team is playing very structured right now,” said Holtby. “I think that
little losing streak was a wake up call for us. Now we need to get some wins
together and move up in the standings.”

Despite the lack of wins recently, Washington is still holding on to the first
of two wild card spots in the East and is one ahead of Boston. Ottawa is 12
points behind the Bruins for the conference’s last playoff berth.

The Caps have not had much success against Ottawa in recent years, but
Washington was able to halt a seven-game slide in the series with a 2-1 home
win over the Senators on Dec. 22.

Washington, which is 12-9-5 away from home this season, has lost four straight
and nine of its past 11 games in Ottawa.

The Senators enter tonight having lost two of three and four of their last six
games. Ottawa last played on Tuesday, when it dropped a 2-1 regulation
decision in New Jersey. Devils forward Mike Cammalleri scored the go-ahead
goal at 5:02 of the third period and New Jersey held on for the win.

Ottawa forward Bobby Ryan, a native of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, had an open
net in the dying seconds but couldn’t get a shot off.

“I thought the guys played hard. I just don’t think we executed in some
situations well enough,” Ryan said.

Curtis Lazar scored and Robin Lehner made 17 saves for Ottawa.

Lehner will start again on Thursday. He is 3-4-1 with a 3.12 goals against
average in eight career games against Washington.

Washington is playing the first of two games on consecutive nights, meaning
Holtby and backup Justin Peters could split the starts against Ottawa and
Friday’s home game against Anaheim. Holtby is 1-3-0 with a 2.54 GAA in his
career versus the Sens, while Peters lost his only appearance against Ottawa.

Ottawa forward Alex Chiasson has missed the last two games with an undisclosed
injury and is questionable for tonight.