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Game 51 Preview and Open Thread: Washington Capitals @ Ottawa Senators

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Sens play host to the league’s premier team

NHL: JAN 07 Senators at Capitals Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals roll into Ottawa to face the Sens in a Friday night tilt. The Sens are coming off one of their better performances of the year after they defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 on the second night of a back-to-back. It was an encouraging outing in a season that’s been a struggle at times. Washington, meanwhile, are perched atop the league’s standings and are firing on all cylinders. If the Stanley Cup play-offs were to start today, Washington would have to be considered one of the favourites.

Here’s how DJ Smith had the Sens line up on Tuesday:


Tkachuk-Pageau-Brown
Namestnikov-Tierney-Duclair
Ennis-White-Batherson
Chlapik-Anisimov-Sabourin

Chabot-Hainsey
Reilly-DeMelo
Borowiecki-Zaitsev

Anderson (starter)
Hogberg

Game Notes:

  • Christian Wolanin took part in a full practice on Thursday, so he is at the very least getting close to a return. No word on who would come out of the line-up should he make his season debut.
  • Marcus Hogberg was sensational in Monday’s shoot-out loss to the New Jersey Devils, but Craig Anderson did earn the win on Tuesday so I’d say there’s at least a decent chance Andy is back in net tonight
  • The Sens’ power play is officially cooking. After tallying three (!) times on Tuesday, Ottawa were briefly no longer the league’s worst with the man advantage. They’re in a real four team battle at the bottom with Anaheim, New Jersey, and Detroit.
  • Alex Ovechkin is an unstoppable goal-scoring machine, and he has a decent chance to get to 6th all-time before the season is out. For my money, once you take into account the era in which he played, he’s the greatest scorer of all-time.
  • If there’s one cloud hanging over the Caps, it’s been the poor play of Braden Holtby. Holtby has a shocking .896 SV% in all situations and the advanced goalie metrics don’t paint a pretty picture either. Ilya Samsonov, who will start tonight, has been outstanding when given the chance to play. Is there a goaltending controversy brewing in Washington?
  • Smith was quoted earlier in the week as saying tonight’s game against Washington and the Toronto Maple Leafs will be a good test for his young team. Certainly Washington’s sustained excellence is a model the Sens should aspire to.
  • Puck drop is set for 7:30 and you can catch all the action on TSN5 or RDS.

Here are tonight’s pregame stats, courtesy of NHL.com and Natural Stat Trick:

Player Stats

Ottawa Senators Los Angeles Kings
Ottawa Senators Los Angeles Kings
Category Player # Player #
Goals Anthony Duclair 23 Anze Kopitar 21
Assists Thomas Chabot 33 Anze Kopitar 41
Points Brady Tkachuk 43 Anze Kopitar 62
Shots Brady Tkachuk 258 Jeff Carter 182
TOI/GP Thomas Chabot 26:02 Drew Doughty 25:51

Team Stats

Ottawa Senators Arizona Coyotes
Ottawa Senators Arizona Coyotes
# Rank # Rank
Goals/GP 2.63 26th 2.71 23rd
Goals against/GP 3.32 28th 2.68 5th
Shots/GP 29.9 24th 31.3 18th
Shots against/GP 33.6 29th 32.3 22nd
Powerplay % 14.6 28th 18.8 20th
Penalty Kill % 78.8 20th 82.8 7th
Corsi % (5v5, Score and Venue Adjusted) 47.23 27th 48.07 26th
Fenwick % (5v5, SVA) 47.71 27th 48.19 24th