Capitals

Capitals

The Capitals are back in action again on Saturday for their last game before the Christmas break. They head to Canada to take on the Ottawa Senators (7 p.m., NBC Sports Washington Plus).

Here are four things to know for Saturday’s game.

Copley takes the net

Todd Reirden said at Wednesday’s morning skate that the plan was for Braden Holtby to start Friday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres and for Pheonix Copley to get the back end of the back-to-back in Ottawa.

Copley’s last start came on Dec. 15 against Buffalo. He gave up three goals in the shootout victory. For the season, his numbers are OK – 2.93 GAA, .902 save percentage – but he always seems to do just enough to win with a record of 7-2-1.

As for who will be starting across from Copley, that remains in question.

Like the Caps, Ottawa played on Friday. Craig Anderson got the start for the Senators, but was pulled after two periods after giving up five goals.

Anderson has started 31 out of 37 games for Ottawa and the quick hook could give coach Guy Boucher an excuse to put him back in Saturday against Washington.

If not, then the Caps will face Mike McKenna who stopped all seven shots he faced in relief on Friday.

A quiet Ovechkin

After rattling off 14 straight games with at least a point, Alex Ovechkin has been very quiet in his last two games. On Friday he managed to get only one shot on goal, the lowest he has had in any game this season.

Two games without a point is hardly a slump, but it is the longest Ovechkin has gone without a point in what is turning into a remarkable season for the 33-year-old captain.

 

Even on a back-to-back, it is hard to see him leaving Ottawa empty handed.

Kuznetsov on the rise?

Speaking of quiet superstars, Evgeny Kuznetsov has been very quietly putting together a strong month…on paper.

In the month of December, Kuznetsov has one goal and nine assists in nine games. Even though he is putting up numbers, however, he is not playing at the same dominant level that we saw in October. Friday’s game against Buffalo was the strongest game from Kuznetsov since he returned from a concussion. He nearly scored on several occasions and was better than the stats showed (one assist). 

Special teams back on track?

Heading into Friday’s game, Washington had given up at least one power play goal in three straight games with a paltry 53.8-percent penalty kill during those three games. Friday’s win was a big step in the right direction as the Caps killed off all four of Buffalo’s power plays. So which penalty kill will show up in Ottawa?
The power play for Washington has gone ice cold with no goals in three games and only three goals in the past eight. Saturday offers a get right opportunity for the Caps as they take on the league’s worst penalty kill. The Senators have managed to kill off only 73.6-percent of power plays this season.
 

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