The Ottawa Senators have stayed near the top of the Northeast Division due in large part to a home-heavy schedule thus far.
They will go for a fourth straight win at Scotiabank Place when they host an injury-ravaged Washington Capitals team Monday night.
The Senators (11-6-3) are one point behind Buffalo for the Northeast lead and have played 14 of their first 20 games at home, going 8-3-3. Ottawa, 3-0-1 on a five-game homestand, picked up its third straight victory overall Saturday, 5-3 over Buffalo.
"You can look at the forwards, they're more hungry and getting to the net more," said Kuba, who had five points in his last two games after totaling three in the previous 10. "They have more energy."
Backup goaltender Brian Elliott will likely get the start for the Senators after preserving Saturday's win in relief. Pascal Leclaire left after two periods with a lower-body injury, and Elliott turned aside 14 shots in the final 20 minutes to improve to 3-1-2.
"I don't know how fast my heart was going when I got in there," said Elliott, who won his lone start against the Capitals in 2008-09. "The guys played really well in front of me. I felt I played pretty good and obviously they spotted me that lead and that helped as well."
Ottawa has not won four in a row since March 17-22.
The Capitals (13-5-5) enjoy a comfortable lead atop the Southeast Division, but went 1-2-1 in a seven-day stretch while playing without seven injured regulars. Battling fatigue, Washington salvaged a point in a 2-1 shootout loss at Toronto on Saturday, as Alex Ovechkin scored the lone goal before being thwarted in the tiebreaker.
"We looked pretty tired, some guys were dragging," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I thought tonight we were lucky to come away with one point."
"He was real sharp tonight, made some big saves in the third," forward Brendan Morrison said of Varlamov, 8-1-1 with a 2.42 goals-against average. "He looks real good back there."
Defenseman Mike Green assisted on Ovechkin's goal and has a goal and nine assists in a six-game point streak.
Washington went 2-1-1 versus Ottawa last season, although Ovechkin was held without a point in two losses at Scotiabank Place. The left wing has seven goals and 11 points in eight career road games versus the Senators.