The Capitals (51-15-5, 107 points) take on the Ottawa Senators tonight at Canadian Tire Centre (7 p.m., Pregame Live, CSN). Here are our AAA Keys to the Game:
Closing time: The Capitals can clinch their first Metro Division title and the top seed in the Eastern Conference with a victory of any kind. The Caps won five Southeast Division titles in Alex Ovechkin’s first 10 seasons in Washington.
Line shuffle: After Sunday night’s rout in Pittsburgh, coach Barry Trotz shook up his lines on Tuesday, promoting right wing Justin Williams from the third line to a top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom and dropping Jay Beagle back to a third line with Marcus Johansson and Jason Chimera.
Who’s in goal: Braden Holtby (43-9-4, 2.26 GAA, .921 SP) will get the call for the Caps. Holtby is looking to rebound from a 6-2 loss in Pittsburgh on Sunday in which he allowed five goals on 19 shots. The Senators will turn to Craig Anderson (29-22-4, 2.80 GAA, .916 SP), who has won two of his last three starts, allowing just two goals in those two victories.
Last we met: The Caps rolled to a 7-1 win over the Sens back on Jan. 10 when six different Capitals netted goals and Alex Ovechkin scored twice. The Caps also beat Ottawa 2-1 on Dec. 16 in Washington on goals by Michael Latta and John Carlson. Andrew Hammond was the Sens goalie in both those games. This is the last meeting of the season between the two teams. The Caps are 4-0-1 in their last five against the Sens.
Speaking of Carlson: This could be the last time the Caps are without John Carlson in their lineup. The defenseman will miss his 12th straight game (and 25th overall) with a lower body injury. Carlson is hoping to practice with the Capitals on Wednesday and Thursday and could return to the lineup Friday night against the Devils in Newark.
Who’s hot: Andre Burakovsky has a goal in each of his last two games and 26 points in his last 30 games (12 goals, 14 assists). His 16 goals are seven more than he had as a rookie last season. Evgeny Kuznetsov has 36 points in his last 29 games (7 goals, 29 assists) and has at least one point in 14 of his last 18 games (5 goals, 14 assists). He has an assist in five straight games.
Trending: The Caps’ power play is 0-for-8 in its last three games. The Caps’ penalty kill has allowed a power play goal in four of their last five games.
Special teams: The Caps rank second in the NHL on the power play (23 percent) and tied for fourth in penalty killing (84.1). Ottawa ranks tied for 26th on the power play (16.3) and 29th on the kill (75.4)
Projected lineups for tonight:
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Justin Williams
Braden Holtby (starter) - Philipp Grubauer
Injured: John Carlson (lower body)
Dion Phaneuf - Cody Ceci
Michael Kostka - Chris Wideman
Craig Anderson (starter) - Andrew Hammond
Scratched: Ryan Dzingel (unless Neil cannot play because of illness)