With a snowstorm and history for Alex Ovechkin looming, the Washington Capitals are making a quick trip up north to take on the Ottawa Senators on Thursday before returning home for a Friday tilt with the Winnipeg Jets.
Here is everything to know before puck drop.
Washington Capitals vs. Ottawa Senators: Tale Of The Tape
The Capitals (17-13-2) are tied for the second Wild Card spot in the East, and have won seven of their last eight games. Washington has been getting scoring from all across the lineup, a good sign for the team as Ovechkin continues his quest for goals No. 801 and No. 802.
Most of those goals lately, though, have come at even strength. It's a promising sign, as the team is still missing the likes of Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson and recently saw T.J. Oshie go down with another injury. The power play, which had goals in seven straight games before last week's game against Dallas, has now gone three straight games without finding twine. Overall, it ranks 20th (21.2 percent) in the league. On the other side of special teams, the penalty kill has been impressive of late, and ranks 12th (80.1 percent).
For Ottawa (14-16-2), things haven't gone according to plan after a number of offseason upgrades that included Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat, and it sits last in the Atlantic Division. The Senators have dropped their last two decisions, though they still have a lot of young talent and remain dangerous. Ottawa's power play also ranks fourth in the NHL (28.5), and their penalty kill is .1 percent better than Washington's.
Washington Capitals vs. Ottawa Senators: Lines
T.J. Oshie will not play against the Senators or Winnipeg and will be re-evaluated after the holiday break. Nic Dowd made the trip to Ottawa after missing Wednesday's skate with a non-COVID illness.
Here are the likely lines:
Alex Ovechkin-Dylan Strome-Conor Sheary
Marcus Johansson-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Anthony Mantha
Sonny Milano-Lars Eller-Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Aliaksei Protas-Nic Dowd-Garnet Hathaway
Erik Gustafsson-John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov-Nick Jensen
Matt Irwin-Trevor van Riemsdyk
Darcy Kuemper is ready to go, and he and Charlie Lindgren are likely to split these next to games. There was no morning skate, but some players did skate, including Kuemper and Lindgren. Per NHL.com's Tom Gulitti, Kuemper left the ice early, indicating he'll get his first start since Dec. 3, when he suffered an upper-body injury that caused him to miss seven games (he dressed against Detroit but did not start).
Washington Capitals vs. Ottawa Senators: Players To Watch
On the Capitals side, Ovechkin is still hungry for goals No. 801 and No. 802, and in 52 career games against the Senators, he has 35 goals and 21 assists. He also has points in six of his last seven outings and has been dangerous from in tight as well. Also, watch for Nic Dowd, who had two goals in 11 seconds and an assist on Dmitry Orlov's overtime winner against the Red Wings. Erik Gustafsson also has five points in his last two games, including four goals, and Orlov has four points in five games since returning from injury.
For Ottawa, look out for Drake Batherson, who has points in nine straight games. DeBrincat has points in nine of his last 10, with several of those being multi-point outings, and Brady Tkachuk has points in three of his last four outings. Giroux also has three points in his last three games, and Tim Stutzle and Thomas Chabot are also dangerous.
Washington Capitals vs. Ottawa Senators: How To Tune In
Puck drop is at 7 p.m. ET at Canadian Tire Centre.