Capitals Opening Faceoff: Keys To Defeating Ottawa, Players to Watch

The Capitals march into Ottawa this evening to battle a Senators team that is coming off its first loss of the season; a bitter 2-1 defeat suffered at the hands of the Penguins in a shootout.

January 27, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) watches from the bench against the Buffalo Sabres in the third period at Verizon Center. The Capitals won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

After cruising along to a 3-0 start, the Senators finally got the taste of defeat in their mouths last game, and will therefore enter this game with a renewed sense of determination. With the support of a loud home crowd and that extra drive in them, the big focus for the Caps will be to score first; take away the momentum for Ottawa and silence that hometown crowd.

The other key to getting the victory tonight will be containing center Kyle Turris. Turris leads the Senators in points (5) and goals scored (4) through the first five game, so perhaps Washington will need to get a little physical with him to minimize his explosiveness.

Players to Watch: 

Alexander Ovechkin - Alex Ovechkin finally collected his first points of the season last game, and will likely look to continue that trend tonight. Look for coach Adam Oates to design lots of plays where Ovechkin is in his usual sniper spot on the left wing, sitting just behind the face-off circle.

Joel Ward - Joel Ward has been a pleasant surprise through the first five games, and leads the team in goals thus far with three. Look for the Washington coaching staff to feed him the puck and force the puck at the Ottawa net to create some rebound chances for Ward on his line.

John Carlson - Carlson has gotten off to a slow start thus far, but hopefully the two days off and the win on Sunday will have him well-rested and motivated to get the Caps in the win column once again. With the wingers finally starting to adjust to Oates’ system involving rotating offensive pieces, Carlson should feel more comfortable on the ice knowing his teammates are prepared to do their part when he goes out of position.

If recent history is any indication of what will happen tonight, then the Capitals should like their chances. Washington is 3-1 in its last four games against the Senators, including a 1-1 split in games at Ottawa. Look for the Caps to be very aggresive tonight as they look for win number two.

Topics: Washington Capitals

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