Pregame #76: Capitals vs. Senators

Washington Capitals (49-15-11) vs. Ottawa Senators (41-30-5)
Verizon Center
Time: 7:00 pm
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: 820AM, 1500AM, 106.7 FM and XM
Previous Games:
Feb 11, 2010  -  WSH 6 @ OTT 5 
Jan 7, 2010     -  WSH 5 v OTT 2
Nov 23, 2009 -  WSH 4 v OTT 3
Games Remaining:

The Washington Capitals close out their season series with the Ottawa Senators tonight, as they look to right the ship after back-to-back defeats. A win tonight would tie the franchise record for wins at 50 while pushing the current franchise record for points (109) even higher. Ottawa is currently enjoying a 4-game winning streak, giving up only 4 goals in their last 4 games, after shaking a 5-game losing streak. Thankfully tonight is the last game this season against a Canadian opponent, whom the Caps are 6-5-3 against this season. The Caps need to come out firing and not let up, as Ottawa is 2-27-1 when trailing after 2 periods.

What To Watch For:

- The Great 8: With his 2 point performance (1-1-2) on Sunday’s game against the Calgary Flames, Alex Ovechkin reached the 100th point plateau for the 4th time in his NHL career. Only Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Peter Stastny and Dale Hawerchuk were able to notch 100 points 4 times in their first 5 seasons. Ovie is currently second in the NHL standings for points (100) and goals (46), while leading in plus/minus (+43), shots (338), points per game (1.54) and goals per game (0.73). All this with missing 10 games this season. AO now owns 4 of the 6 100-point seasons in the Capitals history books.

- Backstopping the Red: After being chased from Sunday’s contest, surrounding 3 goals on 10 shots, Jose Theodore will be back between the pipes tonight for the Caps. Since Semyon Varlamov took the L against the Flames as Washington was able to net 3 goals, Theo’s 19-game streak without a regulation loss is still intact. His 17-0-2 record is a franchise record. Sunday was only the second time this season he was chased from a game, with the first being November 11th. He will face Brian Elliot, who in his two appearances this year against the Caps is 2-0-0, with a 3.97 GAA and a .846 Sv %.

- Get Goals: Most of tonight’s game will center around DC’s 1st place power play unit (26.9% at home) squaring off against Ottawa’s 6th ranked penalty kill unit (84.0%). The Sens face the task of keeping their blue line stout without Anton Volchenkov (whom I still hope to see in a Caps sweater come July 1) and Filip Kuba, while facing Alex Semin who is on a 4-game point streak (3-1-4). For Ottawa, elder statesman Daniel Alfredsson is enjoying a 3-game goal streak and a 7-game point streak (3-7-10).

- Player to Watch: Brian Lee (Provided by the enemy blog The 6th Sens)
Focus your attention on the recently called up Brian Lee. Not only does he look young enough to belong at a Justin Bieber concert, the man who he’s replacing in the lineup, Anton Volchenkov, blocked 11 shots the last time these two teams met. Count your blessings that Volchenkov isn’t playing.