Game 30 Preview: Caps Host Ottawa Senators

Posted by Dave Nichols | Friday, December 12, 2008 | , , | 0 comments »

The Washington Capitals (16-10-3-35, first in Southeast) face the Ottawa Senators (10-11-5-25, fifth in Northeast) at 7:00 pm from Verizon Center.

The Caps come off a big victory over Northeast-leading Boston Wednesday night, limiting one of the highest scoring teams in the league to just one goal in the 3-1 win. Despite a still-depleted blue line corp, the Caps managed to bottle up Phil Kessel (one assist) and the rest of Boston's high octane offense all night.

Washington is starting to see some of their walking wounded return to the line-up as well. Defenseman Tom Poti and LW Alexander Semin, the NHL's No. 1 Star for October, both played in the Boston game and assisted on goals. Poti's stability on defense really showed, while Semin's timing and energy still seemed a little off.

After this morning's skate, coach Bruce Boudreau speculated that D Mike Green and C Sergei Federov might return for this evening's tilt, though he would not confirm the news. Both skated in practice, as did Poti and Brent Johnson, who tweaked his sore hip making a spectacular save in Wednesday's game.

Johnson (8-4-3, 2.47, .918) was confirmed to start against the Senators.

Ottawa has been taking their lumps this season, as their last place standing would indicate. The Senators are dead last in the NHL in goal scoring with just 63 goals in 26 contests, certainly a departure from their high-flying team last season when they were second in the league in goals.

The Sens were shut out Wednesday by Cristobal Huet and the Chicago Black Hawks 2-0 and lost to Florida in OT Monday night 4-3. They were 0-for-6 on the power play in the shut out.

Stars Dany Heatley (14-14-28, +3) and Jason Spezza (12-10-22, +5) are having moderately successful seasons, and Daniel Alfredsson (7-18-25, +8) is making plays since his return from knee surgery early in the campaign. But the team has absolutely no secondary scoring, with the next highest goal scorers only at four tallies.

The Senators are keeping things close though with good goaltending. Both Alex Auld (9-6-7, 2.06, .924) and Martin Gerber (1-5-1, 2.86, .907) have been on their game with little to show by way of victories.

WAS: PP-6th (22.7%, 27/119); PK-23rd (79.3%, 29/140)
OTT: PP-17th (18.2%, 20/110); PK-4th (86.4%, 15/110)

WAS: D Tom Poti (Groin-Probable); D Mike Green (Shoulder-Probable); LW Alexander Semin (Back/Neck-Probable); C Sergei Fedorov (Ankle-Questionable); Tomas Fleishmann (undisclosed-Questionable); RW Chris Clark (Forearm-Out); D Jeff Schultz (Finger-IR); D John Erskine (Concussion-OUT); D Brian Pothier (Concussion-Out);

OTT: LW Dean McAmmond (Sore throat-Questionable)