Game 33 Preview and Open Thread: Washington Capitals at Ottawa Senators

Will Ovi surpass Gordie Howe in Ottawa?

It’s game night in Ottawa against the Capitals, and hopefully a return home gets the Senators back on their December hot streak. They followed up Sunday’s lacklustre 4-2 defeat against the Wild with a lacklustre-er 5-1 loss to the Jets. It’s easy to forget the Sens are still 6-3-1 in December. After a day off on Wednesday, the Sens returned to the practice ice this morning, and these look like tonight’s lines:

Erik Brännström is out with a small injury from Winnipeg, meaning Dillon Heatherington gets his first game of the year. Stützle is a 50/50 to play, and Brassard will be the healthy scratch in that case. They also announced that Friday’s game against the Red Wings is postponed to February 27th due to weather, so this is our last game before the Christmas shutdown.

Some thoughts heading into tonight’s game:

  • The big story of course is Alex Ovechkin, who has spent two games at 800 goals, so he still needs one to tie Gordie Howe for second all-time. Will he do it here? After all, both his 500th career goal, and his 695th (which put him 8th all-time in scoring) came in the Sens’ arena.
  • On the one hand, it’s nice seeing guys like Chartier and Lucchini get shots they’ve earned. On the other hand, it might be nice to see some of the future of this team rather than Brassard yet again filling in for injuries. It’s interesting to me that Brassard is in the “first line or else healthy scratch” category. That seems unusual.
  • In December, Alex DeBrincat has 14 points in 10 games. I’d say that’s good.
  • I’d like to see the Sens try to keep Thomas Chabot’s ice time under 25 minutes. The problem is that D.J. Smith rolls him continually when the Sens are behind. Thankfully in Winnipeg, the Sens didn’t have a prayer at tying it, so Chabot came in a little under. I’m curious if having Heatherington in means Smith trusts him more (bigger so perceived as better than Brännström) or less, and how that affects Chabot’s ice time.
  • Keep your eyes on Caps’ defenceman Erik Gustafsson tonight. He has four goals in 33 games this season. All of those goals came in his past two games, including a hat-trick against the Leafs. Seems like he’s feeling it these days.
  • Forsberg wasn’t great in his start against the Wild, but neither was Talbot against the Jets, so let’s hope he gets it back together tonight. The Sens’ goalies have been good at rebounding from bad games this season.
  • The game starts at 7 pm tonight, with coverage on TSN5, RDS, and NBC Sports Washington, as well as radio broadcast on TSN1200./



Game 31OttawaSenatorsBostonBruins
Goals Against/GP3.2117th2.181st
Shots Against/GP32.421st29.49th
Powerplay %27.94th29.33rd
Penalty Kill %80.013th84.73rd
Corsi % (5v5 SVA)51.2815th53.815th
xGF % (5v5 SVA)50.7817th56.053rd


Game 31OttawaSenatorsBostonBruins
GoalsClaude Giroux14David Pastrnak24
AssistsBrady Tkachuk24David Pastrnak23
PointsBrady Tkachuk37David Pastrnak 47
ShotsBrady Tkachuk143David Pastrnak 168
Time on Ice/GPThomas Chabot25:58Hampus Lindholm23:52

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