The Washington Capitals look to make it their ninth win in ten games in Kanata on Saturday night. Their opponents will be on a back-to-back after suffering a 6-3 loss to the New York Islanders. Things were going well with a 3-1 lead, but when you have a defence as bad as the Senators do, no lead is safe. Like clockwork, the Sens blew the lead and turned a 2-goal lead into a 3-goal loss.
With Craig Anderson suffering from concussion symptoms, the situation is even more desperate than it was. Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse for Ottawa, they lose their starting goaltender. Anderson hasn’t had ideal numbers, but it’s a reflection of bad play defensively as well. The tandem of Mike McKenna and Marcus Hogberg does not make anyone feel confident in the situation.
It provides Hogberg with an opportunity to start in his first ever NHL game, though. Hogberg has looked good in the ECHL and AHL this season. He certainly deserves to get the call up to the big leagues. What might be a problem is throwing him in there with this defense he has to work with.
The Senators don’t want to kill his confidence. But, Anderson and McKenna have both looked shaky with their blue line, so expecting Hogberg to jump in and play any better is a tall order. In any event, he will get some much needed experience.
With McKenna starting yesterday, Hogberg is likely going to get a shot against none other than Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals. It’s going to be a heck of a challenge, but we’ve seen some terrific debuts from rookie quarterbacks. Look at Carter Hart and what he did for the Flyers. We’ll see what he can do against the Capitals on Saturday. Head below for our free Capitals vs. Senators pick.
Washington Capitals vs. Ottawa Senators Pick
The Capitals enter Saturday with a record of 23-10-2. A slow start for the Capitals, call it a hangover after their Stanley Cup win, but they did not look like the same team across the first month of the season. The rust or hangover is long gone, though, as the Capitals have won 15 of their last 18 games. Ovechkin has been playing out of his mind. He leads the NHL in goals with 29, as he seeks his 30th against the Senators this evening.
While Ovechkin has gotten plenty of attention, especially after he was ripping off hat tricks left and right, another leader of the Capitals should be getting the limelight as well. Braden Holtby has stepped up and has been playing great hockey across the last month. In his last six appearances, Holtby has allowed 2 or less goals in five. He’s allowed a goal in each of his last two games.
The Capitals may not need pristine goaltending against the Senators. Ottawa have been so terrible on defence that the Capitals should be able to bring out their high-powered offence and get positive results. After getting pummeled for 6 goals last night, the Senators have allowed over 3.9 goals per game this season.
They’re dead last in the league and there isn’t going to be any relief without Anderson between the pipes. The Capitals have won the last four meetings and are 4-1 in their last five trips to Ottawa. After getting outplayed in Brooklyn last night, the Sens are likely going to find it difficult to keep up with the Caps. I like a 5-2 or 5-3 win for the visitors on Saturday night.