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AAA Keys to the Game: Capitals vs. Senators

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AAA Keys to the Game: Capitals vs. Senators

The Capitals (31-7-3, 65 points) begin the second half of their season tonight when they take on the Ottawa Senators (19-16-6, 44 points) at Verizon Center (6:30 p.m. pregame, CSN). Here are our AAA Keys to the Game: 

An-tic-i-pation: Alex Ovechkin is one goal away from becoming the fifth-fastest player to reach 500 goals. After his thrilling two-goal performance in New York on Saturday, he now has 499 goals in 800 NHL games.

Trotz said he thinks Ovechkin is feeling less pressure to score his 500th goal than he was to score his 484th, which moved him past Sergei Fedorov and into first place among Russian-born NHL Players.

“Just his demeanor,” Trotz said. “We all know he’s going to get 500.”

Ovi vs. Hamburglar: Ovechkin has never scored a goal against Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond, who expects him to bring an arsenal of shots tonight.

"When he scored 499 [Saturday], Hammond said to me, 'This guy is going to have 500 shots tomorrow night, he is going to shoot from everywhere,'" Senators forward Bobby Ryan told the Senators’ website. 

"That guy seems to pass a milestone every week for the past little while here. It will be a special moment for him but let's just hope he can wait a few days. ... I don't hope he shoots from everywhere but you know he is going to."

Hammond is 3-3-2 this season with a 2.35 GAA and .927 SP.

Grubi Nights: Caps backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer (4-3-1, 2.39 GAA, .914 SP) will make his eighth start of the season and first since New Year’s eve when he stopped 33 shots in a 4-2 loss in Carolina, a game in which Barry Trotz said his team “wasted” a solid effort by their goalie. Grubauer lost his only other career appearance against the Senators.

Mojo out, Sill in: Caps forward Marcus Johansson will serve the second game of his two-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey.  However, Zach Sill will return from his two-game suspension for his hit from behind on Boston defenseman Adam McQuaid. Sill is expected to replace Paul Carey on the Caps’ fourth line, but Trotz said there are lots of forwards with “bumps and bruises” and there is a chance Carey stays in the lineup to replace one of those forwards.

Where they stand: The Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning are tied for the final wild card spot in the East with 46 points, one behind the Bruins. The Sens have lost four of their last five and seven of their last nine. The Caps have won three straight and are 12-1-1 in their last 14 to open up a 16-point lead over the Rangers and Islanders.

Injury update: Defenseman John Carlson will miss his seventh straight game with a lower body injury, while Brooks Orpik will sit out his 27th straight game, also with a lower body injury. Both players could hit the ice at Kettler on Tuesday following a day off on Monday, but Trotz was giving no assurances before Sunday’s game.

“We’ll see where they are on Tuesday,” Trotz said. “It’s up to them and the trainers. There’s no urgency. We’ll make sure they are 100 percent and then we’ll throw them back in the fold.”

RELATED: Watch TONIGHT: Alex Ovechkin History in the Making - 10 p.m.

Here’s a look at tonight’s projected lineups:

CAPITALS

Forward lines

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie

Andre Burakovsky - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams

Jason Chimera - Michael Latta - Tom Wilson

Brooks Laich – Zach Sill - Stanislav Galiev

Defense pairs

Matt Niskanen - Karl Alzner

Dmitry Orlov - Nate Schmidt

Aaron Ness - Taylor Chorney

Goaltenders

Philipp Grubauer (starter) - Braden Holtby

Injured: Brooks Orpik (lower body), John Carlson (lower body), Jay Beagle (upper body)

Scratched: Mike Richards, Paul Carey

Suspended: Marcus Johansson

SENATORS

Forward lines

Bobby Ryan – Kyle Turris – Mark Stone

Mike Hoffman – Mika Zibanejad – Milan Michalek

Max McCormick – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Curtis Lazar

Shane Prince – Zack Smith – Chris Neil

Defense pairs

Fredrik Claesson – Erik Karlsson

Marc Methot – Cody Ceci

Patrick Wiercioch – Mark Borowiecki

Goaltenders

Andrew Hammond (starter) - Craig Anderson

Scratched: Alex ChiassonJared CowenChris Wideman

Injured: Chris Phillips (back), Clarke MacArthur (concussion)

MORE CAPITALS: Why the Capitals are the toast of the NHL

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Capitals at Blackhawks Game 10: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

Capitals at Blackhawks Game 10: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

The Capitals are riding a two-game winning streak, and are looking to continue their winning ways as they start a five-game road swing.

Their first stop is Chicago against a Blackhawks team that has cracked .500 and is also riding their own two-game winning streak.

Whose streak will come to an end Sunday? Tune in to find out.

CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS GAME 10: HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals at Chicago Blackhawks

Where: United Center, Chicago, Ill.

When: Sunday, October 20, 7 pm.

TV Channel: Capitals-Blackhawks will be broadcast on NBC Sports. (NBC Sports channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch Capitals-Blackhawks on NBC Sports live stream page.

Radio: Caps Radio 24/7

CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS TV SCHEDULE:

6:00 PM: Caps Faceoff Live

6:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live

7:00 PM: Capitals @ Blackhawks (LIVE)

9:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live

10:00 PM: Caps Overtime Live

10:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live

CAPITALS-BLACKHAWKS INJURY REPORT:

Capitals:

RW Richard Panik, upper-body injury, week-to-week

Blackhawks:

LW Jonn Quenneville, hip injury, day-to-day

CAPITALS AT BLACKHAWKS PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Michal Kempny, D, Capitals (1-0-1)

After returning to the Caps lineup against the New York Rangers Friday night, Kempny felt right at home, potting his first goal of the season. Kempny will look to beat up on the team that traded him back in 2018, and he's had success in the past against them.

Alex DeBrincat, F, Chicago (2-2-4)

Don't be fooled by DeBrincat's 5-7 frame. The shifty forward has a deadly release and notched 41 goals last season, second on the Blackhawks. In the last two seasons, he's also feasted on the Capitals, notching two goals and two assists.

Patrick Kane, R, Chicago (2-5-7)

He doesn't have the nickname "Showtime" for nothing. Kane led the Blackhawks in goals last season with 44, and leads the team in points this season.

CAPITALS at BLACKHAWKS SERIES HISTORY 

Number of all-time Meetings: 99

All-Time Series Record: 44-43-11-1

Last Meeting: Loss 8-5 (1/20/2019)

Last 10: Capitals lead 7-3

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T.J. Oshie puts on a memorable performance in 300th game as a Capital

T.J. Oshie puts on a memorable performance in 300th game as a Capital

300 games. 108 goals. 108 assists.

Just so you're tracking, those are T.J. Oshie's stats through 300 games as a member of the Washington Capitals.

In an outstanding 5-2 victory over the New York Rangers, Oshie scored two power play goals. It was the second time in his career that Oshie recorded two such goals.

Another shot on goal — he had four in the game — would have put him at a nice-and-even 620 during his tenure with the Capitals, but hey, we can't all be perfect.

The statistical-evenness is certainly satisfying, but even if you're not a fan of quirky stats, the man has logged 216 points in 300 games. That's pretty darn good.

T.J. Oshie will seek to continue putting up great numbers as the Capitals embark on a two-week road trip. Their first stop will be Sunday in Chicago for a showdown against the Blackhawks.

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