Pregame #3: Washington Capitals vs Ottawa Senators (10/11/10)

Washington Capitals (1-1-0) vs. Ottawa Senators (0-2-0)
Verizon Center
Time: 7:00 pm
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: 820AM, 1500AM and XM
Previous Games: (none)
Games Remaining:
Dec 19, 2010  WSH@OTT    7:00 PM ET
Jan 16, 2011  OTT@WSH    3:00 PM ET
Mar 25, 2011  WSH@OTT    7:00 PM ET
Game Promotion: (none)
Familiar Faces of Former Capitals:
Sergei Gonchar (1997-2004)
The Enemy:
Silver Seven
Five for Smiting
The 6th Sens

Coming off a 7-2 dismantling of the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night, the Washington Capitals square off agsint the Ottawa Senators in the second of their current three-game home stand. The Sens hope to capitalize on last seasons’ successes against the Caps, taking 3-of-4 contests, as they look for their first win of the young season. With their 9 goals for in two games, the Caps are tied for the lead in the NHL (with the Dallas Stars) and look to continue with their success of 5 unanswered goals from this past Saturday’s, contest en route to tying a franchise record for goals scored in a home opener (and pretty much every way possible, too).

Three Things to Watch For:

Lets do Shots: We mentioned that the Senators are still searching for their first W of the season, after dropping games to the Maple Leafs and Sabres by a combined score of 7-2, but we should also mention that they were outshot by a combined 74-44 in these two games. Taking a page from the “kick ’em while they’re down” playbook, this could be the perfect chance for the Capitals to keep with the pace of their last contest, and allow Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Semin and Mike Green to get on the board with their first goals of the season. It should be noted that the Capitals have yet to out-shoot an opponent this season, as well.

Obtainable Offense: The Senators have yet to see perennial lamp lighters Daniel Alfredsson, Alex Kovalev, Jason Spezza and Mike Fisher take form just yet, having combined for a total of 1 goal, 1 assist, and a -5 rating so far. Ottawa’s offense will look to turn the boat around after averaging 22 shots a game and only scoring two goals this season, after being in the top half of the league in both goals for and goals for per game last season. To counter, the Caps will need to continue to call on their penalty killing unit that has allowed 0 conversions in 7 attempts so far this season, as Ottawa was able to pierce DC on half (6-of-12) of their man-advantage situations last season.

Net Asset: Michal Neuvirth looks to dress for his 3rd straight game (in 4 nights), and will be making his first career appearance against Ottawa. Neuvi has been solid so far this season, putting together a .906 Sv % and 3.02 GAA. He will most likely square off against Pascal Leclaire, Columbus’ first-round pick (eighth overall) in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. Leclaire is 0-2 on the season, and has compiled a modest save percentage (.905) to go with his ugly 3.53 GAA. In three games against the Caps, he is 0-2-0 with a .889 Sv % and 3.51 GAA. This should bode well for both Alexes as Semin had 5 goals (and 6 points) in his three contests against Ottawa last season, while Ovechkin had six points (1G,1A) in four contests last season.