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Game 39 Preview: Washington Capitals @ Ottawa Senators

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Sens are back home to face the high flying Capitals for the second time in two weeks

Ottawa Senators v Washington Capitals Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

With no time to rest after yesterday’s third period collapse against the New York Islanders, a depleted Senators squad are back at home to face a Capitals squad on a three-game win streak.

First, the all-important injury updates:

This trio joins Craig Anderson (concussion), Justin Falk (concussion), and Jean-Gabriel Pageau as players also on the mend. Hence, the team has made three recalls from a Belleville Senators squad who were just starting to put a streak together. Stefan Elliott and Christian Wolanin will likely be with the team for a while, while Jack Rodewald was called up for tonight’s contest. Last night’s healthy scratch, Tom Pyatt, will re-enter the lineup, and Marcus Hogberg will get his first NHL start.

The team understandably didn’t skate this morning, but here’s our guess with what this all means for the line-up. There will be a decision made on whether the team will play 12F (including Rodewald) or 7D (including Elliott AND Wolanin). Educated guess? Boucher will run 12-6, as Rodewald was called up for today. My money is on Stefan Elliott playing because he’s a natural right-shot, but it’d be nice to see Wolanin get some minutes in Chabot’s absence:

Tkachuk - White - Stone
Smith - Duchene - Dzingel
Boedker - Tierney - Ryan
Pyatt - Paul - Rodewald

Harpur - DeMelo
Lajoie - Ceci
Borowiecki - Elliott
Wolanin

Hogberg (starter)
McKenna

The Capitals are rested, having beat the Hurricanes at home on Thursday by a score of 3-1. They are also battling a trio of blueline injuries, with Matt Niskanen the most recent blueliner out (though he did travel to Ottawa). Here’s what we’re expecting:

Ovechkin - Backstrom - Oshie
Vrana - Kuznetsov - Wilson
Burakovsky - Eller - Connolly
Stephenson - Dowd - Smith-Pelly

Kempny - Carlson
Orlov - Bowey
Siegenthaler - Lewington

Copley (starter)
Holtby

Extras: Orpik (inj.), Djoos (inj.), Niskanen (inj.)

Game Notes

  • Pheonix Copley is back in net tonight after shutting out Ottawa last week. This will be the 26-year-old’s 13th start in his first NHL season, sporting a solid .912 save percentage.
  • The Capitals top-nine look as dangerous as ever, but there are a couple new depth faces so I thought I’d introduce them to you (while I learn who they are myself)
  • Fourth-line centre Nic Dowd is the former captain of St. Cloud State University, where he put up 40 points in 38 games in his final season en route to winning “Best Defensive Forward” in the NCHC and a Hobey Baker nomination for top collegiate player. He had two 40 point AHL seasons in the LA Kings system, who drafted him in the 7th round back in 2009, but he didn’t have much success in 86 NHL games with the squad (23 points). He had a stop in Vancouver last season, but has found a home with the Capitals. With 13 points in 31 games, the 28-year-old is on pace to have a career season.
  • 21-year-old defenceman Jonas Siegenthaler (great name!) is 11 games into his NHL career. Like his peer-in-age Christian Jaros, Siegenthaler got some attention at the U20 World Juniors, and has one full AHL season under his belt before getting the call-up to the NHL in lieu of injuries. He plays a smart, simple game.
  • 24-year-old defenceman Tyler Lewington is the former captain of Jordan Hollett’s Medicine Hat Tigers. He’s played three seasons in Washington’s system (ECHL/AHL), but is now getting his first taste of NHL action. A seventh round pick in 2013, don’t expect Lewington to try to do too much with the puck.
  • Shifting over to the Sens, we’ve seen Elliott and Rodewald up and in game action before. If Wolanin gets a shot in Chabot’s absence, expect him to try his best to make himself stick. In 26 games, Wolanin’s 18 points has him 20th among defenceman scoring and third among rookies. Belleville’s offence looked anemic until he returned from injury earlier in December.
  • I feel like we’ve talked about Hogberg on this blog for a while. A third round pick in 2013, the Swedish netminder put up three full seasons in the SHL before coming over to North America last year. He split last season between Belleville and Brampton (ECHL), but has been the team’s most consistent goaltender since returning from injury in November, with a .916 save percentage in 8 games. Unlike Mike McKenna, Hogberg has a future in the Sens system and can potentially be an NHL back-up as early as this year depending on what happens with Craig Anderson. The Capitals would’ve been a great test if he had a healthy defence corps in front of him, but Hogberg’s used to playing behind a dearth of talent. I hope he has a successful first start.

Here are some statistics via NHL.com and Natural Stat Trick:

Team Stats

Category Ottawa Senators Washington Capitals
Category Ottawa Senators Washington Capitals
-- Value Rank Value Rank
Goals/GP 3.18 11th 3.58 3rd
Goals Against/GP 3.95 31st 2.86 12th
Shots/GP 29.1 25th 29.9 23rd
Shots Against/GP 37.8 31st 31.9 20th
Powerplay % 22.0 11th 23.5 7th
Penalty Kill % 74.5 29th 77.1 25th
Corsi (5v5, Score & Venue Adjusted) 43.24 31st 48.37 23rd
Fenwick (5v5, SVA) 43.57 31st 48.32 22nd

Player Stats

Ottawa Senators Washington Capitals
Ottawa Senators Washington Capitals
-- Player # Player #
Goals Mark Stone 17 Alexander Ovechkin 29
Assists Thomas Chabot 28 Nicklas Backstrom 32
Points Mark Stone 41 Alexander Ovechkin 45
Shots Thomas Chabot 100 Alexander Ovechkin 145
TOI/GP Thomas Chabot 23:52 John Carlson 25:26