The Caps travel to Ottawa for a Jan. 31 game with the Sens, and the two teams finish up their season's series here in the District on March 20.
Video: Two-Man Advantage | January 7
Tonight's tilt is the first between the Caps and the Sens since Feb. 26 of last year when the Caps drubbed the Sens 7-2 here in D.C. in Washington's first game after the NHL's trade deadline. Washington has won six straight games over Ottawa, and 11 of its last 12. Since January of 2014, the Caps are 13-1-1 against the Senators.
The Caps' most recent regulation loss to the Sens was a 3-0 whitewashing in Ottawa nearly three years ago, on Jan. 24, 2017. Mike Condon made 31 saves to lead the Sens to that shutout victory, one of only three regulation losses the Caps suffered during a 26-game, midseason stretch (20-3-3) that season.
Washington comes into tonight's game on the heels of a stirring comeback win on Sunday, and the Sens come in with a five-game road losing streak (0-3-2) and just five wins in 22 road contests (5-14-3) this season.
"I don't think a letdown tonight for any reason is acceptable for our team," says Caps coach Todd Reirden, asked whether his team needs to guard against a possible letdown tonight. "We had basically a day and a half off. I think we do a good job of planning our time away from the rink to give the guys as much energy as possible to play the games, and I think we have a good game plan.
"We know this is a team where, if we don't match their work ethic, we're in for a long night. It's been impressive watching them work on video, so we've got to come ready to work and hope that we can take advantage of some of the opportunities we do get. But it is by no means something that we are looking past, because we know that they're well-prepared and they're a hard-working group."
Video: Rinkside Update | Jakub Vrana
Home Cooking - The Caps are in the midst of a stretch of home-heavy scheduling; starting with Sunday's game here against the Sharks, Washington plays 10 of 14 games at Capital One Arena.
Thus far this season, the Caps haven't been as dominant at home as in seasons past, winning 12 of 20 (12-4-4). But Washington has won six of its last eight home contests, but it is 7-2-1 in its last 10 games here and is 12-3-2 at home since dropping each of its first three home games (0-1-2).
Jakub Vrana leads Washington with 11 goals at home, and Evgeny Kuznetsov is the Caps' scoring leader at Capital One with 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists). Kuznetsov missed the Capitals' home opener while serving a three-game NHL suspension at the season's outset, so he has rolled up those numbers in just 19 home games.
Washington lost each of its first four overtime/shootout decisions at home this season, dropping the first two in overtime and the next two in the shootout. But the Caps have won each of their last three that have required more than 60 minutes at home since, all in overtime.
Video: Reirden Pregame | January 7
In The Nets - Tonight being the front end of Washington's eighth set of back-to-back games this season, both Caps goaltenders will get some work here in the next 48 hours. The Caps have opted to go with Ilya Samsonov in the front half against Ottawa, and Braden Holtby will get the net for Wednesday night's Metro Division match-up against the Flyers in Philadelphia.
"I just felt like this was the right game for Sammy to go in for," says Reirden. "[Wednesday] is a divisional game, and Braden [Holtby] will go back [in the net] after I thought a real strong showing at the end of the [San Jose] game in particular.
"So we're going to go with this as our plan. I feel like Sammy, I want to get him right back in there, and Braden taking the second half of the back to back."
The 22-year-old Samsonov enters Tuesday's start with an impressive 11-2-1 record this season, to go along with a 2.33 GAA and a .918 save pct. He has won each of his last six starts, posting a 1.95 GAA and a .927 save pct. in his last seven appearances, which includes one relief effort. Most recently, he made a single-game career high of 38 saves last Friday in a 4-3 win over the Hurricanes in Carolina. That victory ran his road winning streak to eight straight games, the second longest from the start of a career in NHL history.
The Senators did not conduct a morning skate on Tuesday, but veteran Craig Anderson is the likely starter for Ottawa tonight. In 11 road appearances this season, Anderson is 3-6-0 with a 3.49 GAA and an .889 save pct.
Anderson stopped 43 of 44 shots he faced to earn a 3-1 win over Buffalo on Dec. 23, his most recent victory. He has yielded four or more goals in each of his three starts since. Lifetime against the Capitals, Anderson is 11-8-2 with a couple of shutouts, a 2.46 GAA and a .918 save pct. His most recent victory over Washington is also the Sens' most recent victory in the District, a 2-0 Ottawa win here on Jan. 21, 2014. He is 0-3-1 in five appearances (one in relief) against the Capitals since then.
All Lined Up - Here is a look at how we expect the Capitals and the Senators to look on Tuesday night in D.C. when they meet for the first of three times this season:
8-Ovechkin, 19-Backstrom, 43-Wilson
13-Vrana, 92-Kuznetsov, 77-Oshie
62-Hagelin, 20-Eller, 14-Panik
28-Leipsic, 26-Dowd, 21-Hathaway
29-Djoos (upper body)
7-Tkachuk, 44-Pageau, 10-Duclair
13-Paul, 36-White, 19-Batherson
63-Ennis, 71-Tierney, 28-C. Brown
90-Namestnikov, 51-Anisimov, 38-Balcers
81-Hainsey (lower body)
86-Wolanin (torn labrum)