Building Momentum: Washington Capitals vs Ottawa Senators

Washington Capitals (29-9-5) vs Ottawa Senators (16-21-5)

  Predicted Goaltender Record GAA / SV% / # SO
Washington Capitals Ilya Samsonov 11-2-1 2.33 / .918 / 0
Ottawa Senators Craig Anderson 6-10-1 3.12 / .900 / 0
Goaltender Match-up

The Washington Capitals will host the Ottawa Senators on the first half of yet another back-to-back. A thrilling comeback and eventual overtime win on Sunday has team morale high, and fans are expecting another good game versus the struggling Senators. The Capitals have defeated the Senators 13 times in 15 meetings, with six straight wins dating back to October 2017.


Washington completed another characteristically Caps comeback on Sunday where they defeated the San Jose Sharks, 5-4, with the overtime winner coming from Lars Eller. This comeback, however, was very different than those of games past, as the Capitals scored two goals in 60 seconds to erase a two-goal deficit late in the third period.

The first period was scoreless, and lacked even a single power play, but each team registered over 10 shots on goal. The second period saw the two teams trade power plays, with the Sharks receiving two, and converting on both (Panik, high-sticking)(Gudas, slashing). Evander Kane scored his 16th, 17th, and 18th goal of the season, two of which came on Sharks’ power plays (6:25, 10:06, 16:49 of the second). The hat trick marked the 3rd of his career, the last coming versus Carolina back in October. The last time the Caps and Sharks played one another at Capital One Arena saw a hat trick from both Alex Ovechkin and Tomas Hertl. Coming just over 60 second after Kane’s first goal, came the equalizer from Nic Dowd. With a minute and a half remaining in the second period, Jakub Vrana tallied his 17th goal of the season, bringing the Caps within one. The third period had two more Sharks power plays, but the Capitals were able to kill off both without incident (Dowd, delay of game)(Carlson, delay of game). Washington was unable to convert on either of their power plays, as San Jose’s top ranked penalty kill proved to be overwhelmingly successful (Kane, slashing)(Kane, interference). Despite excellent chances to tie the game in the third, Martin Jones was just extremely good in net for the Sharks. Caps bench boss Todd Reirden, who was recently named as the Metropolitan division head coach for the All-Star Game for a second consecutive year, elected to pull Braden Holtby for the extra attacker late in the third. Logan Couture would pot his 14th of the year, an empty-net goal, all but guaranteeing another Sharks win at Capital One Arena. Then, momentum shifted, and the Capitals accomplished something no previous Caps team has accomplished before. With just 60 seconds left, one minute, Reirden would again pull Holtby for the extra attacker, and 13 seconds after Couture’s goal, Jakub Vrana scored his 18th of the season and 2nd of the game, pulling Washington within one. With 15 seconds left in the game, TJ Oshie would score the game-tying goal, his 16th of the season. A goal that would, like a magnet, pull Caps fans who were already filing out the door, back to their seats. With overtime looming, the Capitals were guaranteed at least one point. The Braden Holtby we know and love became a brick wall in the overtime period, stopping two-on-two’s and breakaways. Two minutes into the overtime period, a pass from Holtby to John Carlson provided a perfect set up for Lars Eller who would snap the puck right past Jones to win it for Washington. Holtby made 25 stops on 28 shots to earn his 18th win of the season. Ilya Samsonov will get the start tonight for the Capitals.

The Senators are 5-14-3 on the road and are currently riding a four-game losing streak. Their most recent loss came as a 5-3 defeat by the Tampa Bay Lightning back on Saturday. The first period was scoreless, saw four power plays and a fight. Neither Ottawa nor Tampa Bay were able to score on their respective man-advantages in the opening frame. Chris Tierney gave the Senators a lead as he scored a short-handed goal just 46 seconds into the second period, the remainder of a late Bolts power play from the first period. The Ottawa Senators are tied for 3rd most short-handed goals scored on the road (3) (ESPN). Carter Verhaeghe tied the game at the 2:40 mark of the second, and Kevin Shattenkirk added to that 65 seconds later. John-Gabriel Pageau tied the game with two goals each on the Senators power play at the 11:40 mark of the middle frame (Kucherov, tripping). The Senators power play ranks last in the league, operating at 11.4% efficiency, and their penalty kill ranks 17th (81%) (TheScore). With 9 seconds left in the period, Mark Borowiecki made it 3-2. Three unanswered goals from Tampa Bay sealed Ottawa’s fourth consecutive loss. Brayden Point at the 8:37 mark, Tyler Johnson at the 18:30 mark, and an empty-net goal from Alex Killorn with seven seconds left helped the Bolts improve their rank in the standings, but hurt the Senators. Ottawa allows the 3rd most goals against, averaging 3.36 per game. Craig Anderson ended the night with a .852 save percentage and is expected to start versus the Capitals.

The Ottawa Senators are in a rough spot with injuries mounting up. See below for a full list of missing players:

  • LW- Clarke MacArthur (IR-NR, neck)
  • RW- Ryan Callahan (IR-NR, back)
  • RW- Marian Gaborik (IR-NR, back)
  • RW- Anthony Duclair (day-to-day, undisclosed)
  • D- Dylan DeMelo (DL, finger)
  • D- Christian Wolanin (IR-NR, shoulder)
  • D- Ron Hainsey (DL, undisclosed)
  • G- Anders Nilsson (DL, concussion)

Coverage of the game begins at 6:00pm with Caps Faceoff Live, followed by Caps Pregame Live at 6:30pm, all on NBCSN/NBCSWA, with puck drop shortly after 7:00pm.


References:

ESPN. (2020). 2019-20 NHL Hockey Stats and League Leaders. Retrieved from http://proxy.espn.com/nhl/statistics/team?stat=special-teams&sort=shortHandedGoals&split=34.

mcubed. (2020). NHL: Series record: Washington Capitals against Ottawa Senators. Retrieved from http://mcubed.net/nhl/wsh/otw.shtml.

TheScore. (2020). Ottawa Senators News & Stats. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/4.

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