Series (Game 2 of 4)

Ottawa leads 3-1

Game 1: Monday, November 23rd
Game 2: Thursday, January 7th
Game 3: Thursday, February 11th
Game 4: Tuesday, March 30th

Senators 2

(22-18-4, 48 pts)

Capitals 5

(26-11-6, 58 pts)

7:00 PM ET, January 7, 2010

Verizon Center, Washington, District of Columbia

1 2 3 T
OTT 0 1 12
WSH 2 0 35

N. Backstrom (Capitals - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

J. Erskine (Capitals - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

B. Gordon (Capitals - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Senators-Capitals Preview


The Southeast Division-leading Washington Capitals are the highest-scoring team in the NHL, and that production has made them nearly unbeatable at home recently. A visit from the Ottawa Senators might not change that.

The Capitals look to continue their home dominance of the Senators -- one of the league's worst road teams -- on Thursday night.

Washington (25-11-6) leads the NHL with 149 goals, and has a league-high eight players with at least 10 each.

The Capitals have used their potent offense to go 13-3-3 at the Verizon Center, winning nine of 11 there by outscoring opponents 45-28.

They continued that success Tuesday, beating Montreal 4-2 behind two goals from Alexander Semin, who is second on the team with 16.

Washington doesn't expect to be slowed down by the Senators (22-17-4), who have been outscored 32-15 in six straight road losses in the series. Ottawa, though, did win the first meeting this season, 4-3 at home on Nov. 23.

Alex Ovechkin has thrived against the Senators, tallying 15 goals and 10 assists in 17 games. The two-time reigning Hart Trophy winner has eight goals and five assists in the last six home matchups, including six goals in the last three.

Ovechkin, though, has been held without a point over the last two games, but he's taken on a much larger role after being named the team's 14th captain prior to Tuesday's victory.

"I have a 'C' on my heart, but I'm going to do the same thing," said Ovechkin, who ranks among the league leaders with 26 goals and 50 points. "I have (their) trust. We have a lot of guys who can speak and talk. But if I have to say something, I say something."

The Senators could use some improvement on the road, where they're 6-10-1 to rank better than only Carolina's league-worst 3-13-4 mark. They're also near the bottom of the NHL with an average of 2.24 goals in away contests.

Ottawa has been outscored 50-29 while dropping 10 of 13 as visitors (3-9-1). The team is starting a stretch of six of seven games on the road, hosting Florida on Saturday before embarking on a five-game trip.

The Senators failed to create any momentum heading into the difficult stretch, falling 4-1 to Boston on Tuesday to conclude a 3-2-0 homestand.

"We can't really (be thinking) that because we're on the road, we're probably going to struggle," goaltender Pascal Leclaire told the team's official Web site. "We've played some good games on the road this year and we've had some good wins. Every game is different and your focus is different."

Leclaire's status, however, is in question after he was shaken up Tuesday when the Bruins' Blake Wheeler fell on him late in the third period. He remained in the game and made all 19 saves in relief of Brian Elliott, who gave up four goals on 16 shots in the opening 13:45.

Leclaire, who is 11-7-1 with a 2.84 goals-against average, didn't practice Wednesday.

"We just decided to skip practice and give it a day of rest to be ready for (Thursday)," Leclaire said. "When somebody falls on you, for a goalie ... you see guys get hurt and stuff like that and it's never fun. But I was able to finish the game and felt like I had good power and felt all right. It was definitely a good sign and we'll just take it from there."