(SportsNetwork.com) – The Ottawa Senators hope to continue their recent
dominance of the Washington Capitals when the clubs meet for the first time
this season in Monday’s clash at Verizon Center.
The Senators are 3-1-1 since replacing head coach Paul MacLean with Dave
Cameron, but the club had a tough start to a brief two-game road trip when it
lost a 4-1 decision Friday night in Montreal.
Ottawa will try to rebound tonight by producing an eighth straight victory
against the Capitals, who haven’t beaten the Sens since winning on the road on
Dec. 7, 2011. Washington has lost three straight on home ice against Ottawa.
The Capitals, however, are on a hot streak of late, having earned at least a
point in eight straight. Washington is 6-0-2 during the stretch and is coming
off consecutive victories at the end of a three-game road trip.
The Senators had a two-game winning streak of their own halted by the
Canadiens on Friday. Ottawa opened the scoring on Erik Condra’s short-handed
tally less than three minutes into the game, but Montreal would respond with
four unanswered goals.
Robin Lehner made 25 saves on 29 shots for the Senators, who went 0-for-3 on
the power play.
“We generated absolutely nothing off of the power play, not even momentum,”
Ottawa fell to 7-9-3 as the guest. The club is playing its final tilt before
the NHL’s Christmas break tonight and the Sens will return to action in
Saturday’s home test versus Detroit.
The Capitals have two games left before the hiatus, as they will follow up
tonight’s home test with Tuesday’s road clash against the New York Rangers.
Washington is coming off Saturday’s road win in New Jersey, a 4-0 victory that
gave the Caps a 2-0-1 mark on its road trip and improved the club’s away
record to 10-5-2. By comparison, Washington is only 6-5-4 as the home team
The Caps were fueled by their two biggest offensive stars on Saturday, as
Nicklas Backstrom scored a pair of goals and Alex Ovechkin notched a
highlight-reel tally to lead the way in Jersey.
“(Ovechkin and Backstrom) carried us tonight,” said Capitals coach Barry
Trotz. “We weren’t as sharp as we needed to be as a group. The big guys led
the way when we needed a push.”
Mike Green also scored and Backstrom added an assist for the Capitals. Braden
Holtby needed to stop only 21 shots for his second shutout of the season.
Holtby is likely to get a night off from backup Justin Peters either tonight
or in Tuesday’s game against the Rangers. Holtby is 0-3-0 with a 3.05 goals
against average in his career against Ottawa, while Peters lost his only
lifetime appearance versus the Sens.
Craig Anderson could start in net for Ottawa. The veteran netminder is 11-5-1
with a 2.29 GAA in 17 career outings against the Capitals.