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Game 6 Preview and Open Thread: Washington Capitals @ Ottawa Senators

Can the Sens rebound from a heartbreaking defeat?

NHL: Washington Capitals at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The Ottawa Senators will try to rebound from consecutive losses when they welcome the Washington Capitals to the Canadian Tire Centre tonight. As you may have heard, the Sens’ last game ended in....controversial fashion. The match-up with the Caps, Ottawa’s last home game before kicking off a three game road trip, won’t prove much of a relief. At the same time, if Ottawa is serious about making a run for the play-offs this year, playing Washington is exactly the type of measuring stick they should be looking for.

Based on DJ Smith’s media availability yesterday, here’s my best guess at how the Sens will line them up for tonight’s game:

Tkachuk - Norris - Batherson
Stützle - Paul - C. Brown
Formenton - Tierney - Ennis
Sanford - Shaw - Sabourin

Chabot - Zub
Holden - Zaitsev
Mete - J. Brown
Forsberg (starter) Gustavsson

Game Notes:

  • At some point, the Capitals are going to fall off: several of their best players are decisively on the wrong side of 30, and their defense corps leaves a lot to be desired. And yet. Washington’s 3-0-2 for 8 points in their first five games, Ovechkin has ten points, and their (early) underlying numbers paint them as a real contender — again. Death, taxes, and a good Capitals team.
  • Without re-visiting the specifics of Saturday’s painful affair, Ottawa should be taking a lot of positives from their performance. They were clearly the better team for the vast majority of the game. As the season progresses, the breaks will come if they maintain that level of play.
  • It seems Matt Murray’s injury is at least somewhat severe as he’s been placed on IR; another bad break for a guy who hasn’t had much injury luck in recent years.
  • One area where Washington has struggled, at least relative to their usual dominance, is on the power play. Meanwhile, the Sens’ penalty kill hasn’t exactly been up to snuff so something’s gotta give on that front.

Stats for tonight’s encounter, courtesy of NHL.com and naturalstattrick.com as always.

Team Stats

Game 6 Ottawa Senators Washington Capitals
Game 6 Ottawa Senators Washington Capitals
Category # Rank # Rank
Goals/GP 2.00 27th 3.80 8th
Goals Against/GP 2.4 9th 2.20 6th
Shots/GP 28.6 24th 30.4 20th
Shots Against/GP 32.2 18th 25.6 1st
Powerplay % 25.0 12th 15.0 25th
Penalty Kill % 76.5 22nd 71.4 27th
Corsi % (5v5 SVA) 50.19 17th 53.76 9th
xGF % (5v5 SVA) 51.56 14th 55.96 5th

Player Stats

Game 6 Ottawa Senators Washington Capitals
Game 6 Ottawa Senators Washington Capitals
Category Player # Player #
Goals Chris Tierney 3 Alex Ovechkin 5
Assists Connor Brown 4 Tom Wilson 6
Points Connor Brown 4 Alex Ovechkin 10
Shots Nick Paul 16 Alex Ovechkin 20
Time on Ice/GP Thomas Chabot 26:54 John Carlson 23:13