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Capitals-Senators Preview @NHLdotcom

GAME: Washington Capitals (20-32-5) at Ottawa Senators (38-14-5).

TIME: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

An Olympic break was just what the Ottawa Senators needed, although most of the team didn't get much of a break at all.

The Senators, who struggled to a 3-4-1 record in their final eight games heading into the Olympics, try to notch their second win in as many nights as they host the Washington Capitals.

Ottawa, which boasts nine Olympians on its roster, had a four-goal lead through two periods on Wednesday before holding on for a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley, Brian Pothier and Peter Schaefer each had a goal and an assist to lead the Senators, who converted 2-of-4 power plays.

Alfredsson played for gold medal-winning Sweden in Turin and arrived back to Ottawa after the team flight left Tuesday, but the Senators' points leader arrived in plenty of time to snap a five-game scoring drought.

"I told myself not to try to think about it too much," Alfredsson said of playing his ninth game in 15 days on two continents. "I felt not bad actually, not super but pretty good overall. It was a good win especially because we wanted to get off to a good start and this is a team we should beat."

The Senators' two leading scorers look to continue their success against the Capitals. Alfredsson has 23 goals and 14 assists in 33 career games against Washington, and Heatley has four goals and 10 assists in 14 contests.

The Capitals also won their first game post-Olympics, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3 on Tuesday to snap a four-game losing streak. Washington has recorded just three wins in its last 11 games and will try to record back-to-back victories for the first time since winning four in a row from Jan. 13-21.

Matt Pettinger scored twice on Tuesday, and rookie phenom Alexander Ovechkin tallied his 37th goal of the season when a shot deflected off his leg and into the net.

"It was a funny goal," said Ovechkin, who scored five goals for fourth-place Russia at the Olympics.

Brian Willsie and Ben Clymer also scored for the Capitals, who held their opponent to fewer than five goals for the first time in five games.

The Senators have not lost to the Capitals in the last six meetings between the teams, recording five wins and a tie. After hosting Washington, Ottawa embarks on a five-game road trip and plays nine of its next 12 games away from home.

STANDINGS: Capitals - 45 points, 5th place, 39 PB, Southeast Division. Senators - 81 points, 1st place, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Capitals - Ovechkin, 37 goals, 33 assists and 70 points; Brendan Witt, 133 PIM. Senators - Alfredsson and Heatley, 35 goals; Jason Spezza, 46 assists; Alfredsson, 75 points; Chris Neil, 143 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Capitals - Power play: 14.2 percent (49 for 344), 29th in NHL. Penalty killing: 78.6 percent (313 for 398), 27th. Senators - Power play: 20.5 percent (71 for 346), 3rd. Penalty killing: 84.9 percent (298 for 351), 6th.

GOALTENDERS: Capitals - Brent Johnson (5-9-0, 0 SO, 4.08 GAA); Olaf Kolzig (15-22-5, 0, 3.49). Senators - Emery (10-4-1, 1, 3.12); Billy Thompson (no appearances).

SEASON SERIES: Senators, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 4; Senators, 3-1. At Washington, D.C., Chris Phillips, Patrick Eaves and Schaefer each scored while Zdeno Chara had two assists to lead the Senators to victory.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Capitals - 7-18-1 on the road; Senators - 22-6-1 at home.

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