This Thread Dedicated To The Following Games
Jan 16th @ Ottawa Senators
Jan 18th @ Carolina Hurricanes
Jan 20th vs. Florida Panthers
***********************************************************************************Caps Take on Surging Senators
Jan. 16 vs. Ottawa Senators at ScotiaBank Place
Time: 7:30 pm
Radio: WTEM 980 AMWashington Capitals(19-19-7)
[/color]Ottawa Senators (26-19-2)
Tuesday finds the Capitals in Ottawa for their first visit to Canada?s capital city in 2006-07. The game with the Senators starts the second half of Washington?s current four-game road trip. The Caps are without a win on the trip to date, and they now must face one of the league?s hottest teams.
The Caps are coming off a dismal Saturday night performance in South Florida where they suffered a 7-3 setback in a game that marked one of their poorest performances in recent seasons. The Caps were outshot 54-17, the most shots against and fewest shots on goal for Washington in any of its games this season.
To a man, the Caps seem determined to put that one in the rear-view mirror and move ahead.
?It wasn?t a lot of fun,? says Caps center Brian Sutherby. ?None of us were happy about the way we played. I think everyone is pretty anxious to go out there and redeem ourselves and show that we?re a lot better team than we were [on Saturday].?
?After a game like that, guys are definitely anxious to get back and get some points back and prove that we belong with the good teams,? says Washington winger Donald Brashear.
Brashear was one of the most noticeably involved Capitals in Saturday night?s loss, and his exemplary play earned him a bit of a promotion. At Monday?s practice here in suburban Ottawa, Brashear was skating on a line with Alexander Semin and Kris Beech.
?A lot of times they will play against some faster lines or guys who are quicker, but not necessarily big,? says Brashear of Semin and Beech. ?If I can get in the corners and retrieve some pucks and hang onto some pucks, it makes the [opposition] tired. I can just hand it to [my linemates] and then they can start skating around, and it makes it a lot easier for them.?
Caps coach Glen Hanlon says that Brashear has earned more ice time, but also states that Matt Pettinger will continue to skate shifts on that line as well.
?You?ll see [Brashear] in there; you won?t see him in there,? says Hanlon. ?I still believe that people have a minute threshold where they should play. I don?t think you should take somebody that you kind of project to play 10-12 minutes and play them 23. If it?s an even-strength game and I?ve got a situation where [Matt] Pettinger is going to end up with 10 minutes or something, that is not going to happen.
?We just feel that [Brashear] has played well enough to warrant more minutes. We feel he should be getting close to being a double-digit [minutes] player for us.?
Washington will be facing a red hot Ottawa team on Tuesday, but it faced a red hot Ottawa team the last time it saw the Sens, on Dec. 6 at Verizon Center. The Senators had won eight of their previous nine when they took the ice that night in the District, but the Caps quickly cooled them with a 6-2 cold rinse.
The Caps will have their hands full with Ottawa?s swift and speedy forwards, and perhaps reuniting the CBS Line (Ben Clymer, Matt Bradley and Brian Sutherby) will help quell the Senators? quick and creative attack.
?We obviously had some good success last year,? says Sutherby. ?Hopefully we can kind of turn things around here and start chipping in a little more. I know me and Benny certainly want to be doing that. And obviously creating energy and just being a line that can go out and hem teams in their own end. I thought that was our strength last year. None of our goals are ever pretty. They came from hard work and being physical, and that?s what we?ve got to do out there.?
Brent Johnson will be in goal for Washington on Tuesday. The last time Johnson faced the Sens here, he stopped all 46 shots to lead the Caps to a narrow 1-0 win on Apr. 1. It was the third-most saves ever made in a 1-0 win in league history.
?I remember that game,? says Johnson, ?but I more so remember my last start that I had against Buffalo right after Christmas.?
He surrendered four early goals before being pulled in favor of Olie Kolzig in that one, but the Caps made a rare day-of-game trip on the day after Christmas to face the conference?s best team in that one.
Johnson is ready to rebound from that game, and he?s ready to help his teammates rebound from Saturday night?s debacle.
?[I have to] be determined out there,? he begins, ?get the job done for your defensemen, and everyone stands up for each other out there. I think we?ll have that for the rest of the year. After getting beat 7-3 last game, we had a good meeting with all the guys. We talked about how this is only going to get harder, and we?ve got to pick up our game and it has to start from the first drop of the puck to the end of the game. Sixty minutes. We all know that, and we definitely want to get away from having team meetings after losses. So I think everyone is going to be ready to play here.?
Washington is 14th in the league in power play prowess with a 17.6% success rate. The Caps have scored at least one power play goal in six straight games and are 7-for-29 (24.1%) with the man advantage during that stretch. The Capitals rank 21st in the NHL in penalty killing with a 80.6% kill rate.
The Sens are winners of four straight and are 9-1-1 in their last 11 games. Ottawa has outscored the opposition 47-24 in the last 11 games and 25-10 in the last four. The Sens have scored six or more goals in a game 11 times this season (including three times in the last four games), tops in the NHL.
When the Senators visited Washington for their first meeting with the Capitals in early November, there was talk in the Canadian media about the Sens trading captain Daniel Alfredsson. The Swedish veteran was off to a slow start, as were the Senators. Ottawa has to be thankful now that no deal ever came off, because Alfredsson and a few of his teammates are among the hottest players in the league at the moment.
Alfredsson and linemate Dany Heatley both come into Tuesday?s game with four-game goal streaks. Alfredsson has four goals and 12 points and is plus-11 in his last four games. Heatley has eight goals and 15 points in his last six games, and he is plus-13 during that stretch.
With pivots Jason Spezza and Mike Fisher both sidelined with knee injuries, sophomore center Chris Kelly has been the benefactor of playing on the Alfredsson-Heatley line. Kelly has three goals and 11 points in his last five games, and he is plus-12 during that stretch. Kelly had 15 points in his first 42 games this season, and he has now moved into a tie for fourth place on the team in scoring.
The Senators have moved to within a single point of Montreal for second place in the NHL?s Northeast Division.
Ottawa is ninth in the NHL with an 18.5% power play success rate. After going 0-for-15 with the extra man in a four-game span, the Sens exploded for three power play goals (3-for-5) in Saturday?s 8-3 win over Montreal.
The Senators have the league?s 13th best penalty killing outfit with a kill rate of 83.2%. Ottawa has killed off 15 of 16 (93.8%) of the opposition?s power play in its last five games.