The Washington Capitals play host to the Ottawa Senators at Capital One Arena on Tuesday night. The Capitals will be looking to build some more momentum after close calls against the Carolina Hurricanes and San Jose Sharks. They had to hold on in the third to withstand a late push by the Hurricanes. A 4-1 lead turned into a 4-3 win for the Capitals, though it ended up being closer than they wanted. In the following outing, the Capitals were on the other side, as they had to erase a third period deficit. They were down by two goals in the final minute of regulation and managed to bury a couple of goals to tie the game, and then get the game-winner from Lars Eller in overtime.
It’s a thrilling win for the Capitals and was an entertaining display for the fans on Sunday. However, it’s not how head coach Todd Reirden wants his team winning games. Having to erase a 2-goal hole with a minute on the clock isn’t something he wants to get used to. In any event, it’s 2 big points for the Capitals that could help them out later in the season when the standings come into play. They head into Tuesday with a record of 29-9-5 for 63 points and an eight-point advantage on the Islanders in the Metropolitan. The Islanders were able to put a small dent in the lead with a 1-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche last night at the Coliseum.
The Capitals have an inferior Senators squad coming to town on Tuesday. The same could have been said for the Sharks on Sunday and they barely survived. Let that be a lesson not to take weak teams lightly, especially a young team like the Senators who tend to show up some nights. That said, the Senators are on a four-game losing streak, with their latest defeat coming against the Lightning on Saturday night. Their offensive firepower was too much to overcome, as they fell by a score of 5-3 at home. Losing games like that have become a common occurrence this season for the Sens.
Having to deal with defensive injuries recently rattles the cage a little more for the Senators. They didn’t have a top-flight defensive unit head into this season, so any injuries to hurt their depth was naturally going to become a concern. With three veteran defencemen out of the lineup, the Senators have been forced to operate with little depth on the blue line. An injury to Thomas Chabot would send things crashing down pretty hard. But at least we’ve seen progress from Brady Tkachuk, and Pageau has proven that he’s still alive, so there’s been some good in 2019-20 for the Senators. It’s going to take a lot from those two in Washington tonight to make this a competitive contest. Head below for our free Senators vs. Capitals pick.
Ottawa Senators vs. Washington Capitals Betting Odds:
Senators vs. Capitals Prediction:
The Senators couldn’t contain the Lightning without a healthy defence, nor could they do it against the Panthers, Penguins, and Devils before that. Ron Hainsey, Nikita Zaitsev, and Dylan Demelo are all absent on the blue line for the Senators. They’re not elite, but it hurts their depth on a team that couldn’t afford to lose defencemen going into this year. Ottawa has fallen to 29th in the NHL with 3.36 goals against per game.
In eight of their previous nine games, the Senators have yielded at least 4 goals. The only game the defence has shown up in to deliver a dominant performance in recent memory was against the Sabres. Dating back to a 4-3 win over the Blue Jackets on December 14th, the Senators have yielded 4.2 goals per game.
Ottawa could of course put forth a better effort, especially on the back check from the younger guys. The defensive injuries have hurt the team, though others have to step up in their absence. Getting back to defend their zone would be appreciated, but we haven’t seen much out of it from the Senators recently. That’s not going to work against a quick strike offence like the Capitals. The Capitals are 4th in the league with 3.53 goals per game, and have netted 3.5 per game in their last ten games. They’ve been fairly consistent in that regard throughout the season.
The defence, and Braden Holtby, have shown no sense of consistency, though. The playmakers have had to bail Holtby out regularly this season, and Ilya Samsonov is gunning for his starting job sooner rather than later. Holtby holds an above par GAA of 2.99 and 0.902 save percentage The 3 goals he allowed against the Sharks on Sunday was his best effort since December 21st. As a team, the Capitals have allowed 3.4 goals per game in their last ten outings.
Barry Trotz is a coach who stresses defence. We saw that when he was with the Capitals, and in the instant transformation that the Islanders went through when he arrived there. The defensive effort hasn’t been as intense with Reirden steering the ship, though it will have to get there in the playoffs. The Capitals torched the Senators for 7 goals in their most recent meeting.
Don’t expect a 7-2 win this time around, but they should be able to score at will against a banged up Senators’ defence. Tkachuk and company may keep the Senators within striking distance offensively, though. Expect a 4-3 or 5-3 game to put this one OVER the total on Tuesday.