Capitals-Senators Preview

Alex Ovechkin has gone three straight games without a goal for

the first time and ending that mini-slump could be difficult in his

next game.

Ovechkin hasn’t scored often in recent trips to the Canadian

Tire Centre, and his Washington Capitals have lost their last five

meetings with the Ottawa Senators heading into this one Monday

night.

Washington (20-14-5) was victimized by a terrific performance by

Ryan Miller in Sunday’s 2-1 shootout loss in Buffalo. The Capitals

outshot the Sabres 50-17 but Miller came up with 49 saves –

including all 12 on Ovechkin.

“‘We made the right decisions with the puck, and the power play

was working today, but we didn’t score,” said Ovechkin, whose shot

total was a season high. ”(Miller) was on top of his game and he

carried them into the shootout and onto victory.”

Ovechkin’s league-high goal total remains stuck on 30 and

history says that getting to 31 could be difficult.

He has scored once in eight games at Ottawa over the previous

five seasons for his worst output in an Eastern Conference

city.

If Ottawa (16-18-7) starts Craig Anderson, it figures to add to

the challenge.

Anderson is 9-2-1 with a 2.49 goals-against average over his

last 12 starts against the Capitals, with victories in the last

five. Ovechkin has played in nine of those games, scoring three

times.

The Senators won 6-4 at Washington on Nov. 27 in the lone

2013-14 meeting. Bobby Ryan scored twice and Anderson made 29

saves.

Ottawa is unsure of the statuses of captain Jason Spezza and

defenseman Chris Phillips, who both sat out Saturday’s 4-3 home win

over Boston with lower-body injuries.

Ryan scored the winning goal with 4:35 remaining as the Senators

avenged a 5-0 loss in Boston the night before.

“Hopefully this is a building block,” Ryan said. “We got points

at home and we got a good team here coming in to close out the

homestand here Monday night so it’s going to be a big one.”

Now Ottawa is seeking consecutive wins for the first time since

a season-best three-game run Nov. 5-9.

“There’s still things that we can do better in our game and do

more consistently in our game and we have to be here to do it

because we have another difficult game coming up here on Monday,”

coach Paul MacLean said.

Washington fell out of the top spot in the league on the power

play by failing on both chances Sunday to drop to 25.5 percent.

Troy Brouwer had its lone goal.

“I can’t really complain on the night,” coach Adam Oates said.

“We had 15 shots in every period, we did a lot of good things, yeah

there’s always mistakes, but we played a pretty solid game.

Obviously, you want to win but I’m not disappointed in the

game.”

These teams spent plenty of time in the penalty box in the first

meeting. Washington was 2 for 4 on the power play and Ottawa

converted a season-high three times in six chances.