Game 43 preview: Washington Capitals @ Ottawa Senators

USA TODAY Sports

A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and Washington Capitals on 18 April 2013.

The Ottawa Senators will look to extend their winning streak to four games when they play the surging Washington Capitals. The Capitals started 2-8-1 and looked dead and buried in a shortened season but have since gone 22-9-1 including winning their last eight games. The Senators have won three in a row following a five game losing streak and look to further cement their place in the playoffs. With games against the Leafs, Penguins, another game against the Capitals, and then the Flyers and Bruins to finish, Ottawa will have a difficult slate of games.

There will be no changes tonight, and here are the lines from Sylvain St-Laurent.

Michalek - Turris - Alfredsson
Conacher - Zibanejad - Silfverberg
Latendresse - Smith - Neil
Greening - Pageau - Condra

Wiercioch - Gonchar
Phillips - Méthot
Cowen - Gryba

Anderson (starter)
Lehner

Healthy scratches: Regin, O'Brien, Kassian, Lundin, Benoît

And some notes for tonight:

  • How will the team deal with Ovechkin? He leads the NHL with 28 goals and 198 shots (22 more than second place) and is on a ridiculous run of 18 goals, 8 assists and 87 shots in 16 games. Will Paul MacLean choose to use Cowen and Gryba against the Backstrom/Ovechkin line or go with Methot and Phillips? Kyle Turris played against the E. Staal/Semin line while Paul MacLean had a choice and the defensive selection was Phillips and Methot.
  • Staying out of the penalty box will be especially important tonight. Ovechkin has 15 of his 28 goals on the power play while Mike Ribeiro has 24 of his 43 points on the power play. Defenceman Mike Green is also coming on as of late with 7 total goals in his last 10 games.
  • The Senators are very good at home though, with a 14-3-3 record at Fortress Scotia. They have been fortunate in some of the recent wins, but they were unfortunate during the losing streak as well.
  • Sergei Gonchar is quietly tied with Kyle Turris for the team lead in points - and he is an aging defenceman. Gonchar has also played three less games than Turris. Cory Conacher has 26 points, but most of them were not for Ottawa.
  • Turris has had an odd (or unlucky) season. He scored four goals in the first four games, then did not score in the next 21, then he scored four in four again. Now he hasn't scored in his last 13 games. By this trend, he will heat up during games 3 to game 6 of the first round before not scoring again during our cup run. His 8.2 shooting percentage is right around his career average of 8.5% but he has hit a few posts this season hasn't he?
  • Jakob Silfverberg and Mika Zibanejad will both have family at tonight's game. Will they try and show off? Silfverberg doesn't have a point in the last four games and doesn't have a goal in 10 games.
  • Consider this run of games for Ottawa since the start of the season: won five out of seven (5-1-1), then lost six out of eight (2-5-1), then won five in a row (5-0-0), then lost six out of seven (1-2-4), then won six out of seven (6-1-0), then lost five in a row (0-5-0) and has now won three in a row (3-0-0). It is worth while to remember that streaks happen both ways.
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