Game 50 preview: Ottawa Senators @ Washington Capitals

USA TODAY Sports

A preview of the game between the Ottawa Senators and Washington Capitals on 21 January 2014.

The Ottawa Senators could end the night in a playoff spot if they can beat the Washington Capitals and the Columbus Blue Jackets lose in regulation to the Los Angeles Kings. The Senators are coming off their first regulation loss since 27 December and looked poor on Saturday afternoon against the Rangers. That is over and done with so here's to a better effort tonight.

Craig Anderson will start again despite a couple of poor efforts. Mark Stone injured himself in practice and will be replaced by Stephane Da Costa. Marc Methot is out with a minor injury and Patrick Wiercioch will actually get to play hockey. Here are the lines:

MacArthur - Turris - Ryan
Conacher - Zibanejad - Michalek
Smith - Spezza - Condra
Greening - Da Costa - Neil

Cowen - Karlsson
Phillips - Ceci (guess)
Wiercioch - Gryba (guess)

Anderson (starter)
Lehner

Some notes for tonight:

  • Ottawa has played the Capitals very well recently and a large part of this has been Erik Karlsson shutting down Alexander Ovechkin.
  • Craig Anderson hasn't been very good in the last couple of games or for most of the season really. But he will get the start again of course. Devan Dubnyk and Ondrej Pavelec are the only goalies to start at least 50% of their team's games and have a lower save % than Craig Anderson. Fortunately, I think the Senators are good enough to overcome the coach and goaltending.
  • Surprising to see Da Costa replace Mark Stone. I was expecting to see either Mike Hoffman or Andre Petersson. Is it possible the club is trying to create some trade value for him again?
  • Alexander Ovechkin has 260 shots. That's 58 more than anyone else. He is currently on pace for 60 goals in 80 games. He is a game time decision with a lower body injury.
  • Tonight begins a four-game road trip with three of the four games against teams within two points of the Senators.
  • The Capitals have won only 14 out of their 49 games before the shootout.
  • The Senators will look to improve on a pathetic 8-16-1 record without Matt Kassian.
  • What does Patrick Wiercioch have to do to tonight to stay in the lineup? He can't compare himself to star players like Jared Cowen, but three or four points might be okay for someone of his level.

Here are some stats leaders for the two teams tonight.

Category Ottawa Washington
Player # Player #
Goals Bobby Ryan 19 Alexander Ovechkin 35
Assists Erik Karlsson 35 Nicklas Backstrom 38
Points Erik Karlsson 46 Alexander Ovechkin 49
Shots Erik Karlsson 151 Alexander Ovechkin 260
Average Ice time Erik Karlsson 27:10 John Carlson 24:30

Category Ottawa Washington
# Rank # Rank
Goals For 2.80 9th 2.74 12th
Goals Against 3.06 27th 2.94 23rd
Corsi Close % 51.3% 10th 48.9% 22nd
Fenwick Close % 50.3% 14th 48.2% 21st
Shots For 33.0 3rd 30.4 14th
Shots Against 33.5 27th 34.0 28th
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