Game 51 Preview and Open Thread: Washington Capitals @ Ottawa Senators
Sens play host to the league’s premier team
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:
- 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:
|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|
|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|