Capitals visit Senators in search of fifth straight win (Jan 07, 2017)
OTTAWA — One team will be coming off a big win and the other a long rest when the Washington Capitals visit the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Saturday.
The Capitals accomplished what no team could in the month of December when they stopped the Columbus Blue Jackets winning streak at 16 games Thursday. The victory was also the fourth in a row for Washington.
“I wanted to stop the streak,” said Capitals winger Justin Williams, who scored the fifth goal. “Who wouldn’t want to stop a streak? I’m lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about it.”
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The Senators (20-13-4) will be playing just their fourth game in 16 days on Saturday. They are coming off their bye week, prior to which they suffered post-Christmas losses to the New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings and Capitals.
Only Kyle Turris was able to solve Capitals goalie Braden Holtby at Verizon Center on New Year’s Day. Ottawa had a 1-0 lead until late in the second period, when Karl Alzner tied the score, and Taylor Chorney pulled the Capitals ahead with his first season early in the third.
The Senators were outshot 28-24 and their power play failed to click for the third game, extending its drought to 0-for-11.
Goalie Mike Condon is expected to play in his 15th consecutive game on Saturday, as he continues to carry the load with Craig Anderson on personal leave to be with his wife, Nicholle, as she battles cancer.
The Capitals (24-9-5) didn’t require their top forwards to produce in the victory over the Blue Jackets, as along with Williams, they received their scoring from Nate Schmidt, Daniel Winnik, Andre Burakovsky and defenseman John Carlson.
“If we’re going to be a successful team, we need all four lines to produce,” said center Nicklas Backstrom. “We had a strong game from all four lines, so we’ve just got to keep it going.”
The Capitals are 4-0-0 against the Senators over the last two seasons. Their last loss at Canadian Tire Centre was a 4-3 overtime decision on Aril 4, 2015.
It looks like Ottawa will have forward Zack Smith back in the lineup after he missed two games with an abdominal injury. Smith, who has eight goals and seven assists, skated on a line with Derick Brassard and Mark Stone Friday night, when the Senators returned from their week off with a 7 p.m. practice.
The meeting with the Capitals will be the first of a four-game home stand for Ottawa, which hosts the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday. Washington travels to Montreal for a Monday night game against the Canadiens before returning home to face the Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday for the first of a three game homestand.
Washington recalled forward Liam O’Brien from the Hershey Bears on Friday. O’Brien has one goal and one assists in 13 career games with the Capitals.