GAME: Washington Capitals (24-38-10) at Ottawa Senators (49-16-7).
TIME: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
The Ottawa Senators try to extend their unbeaten streak against the Washington Capitals to nine games as the teams meet at Scotiabank Place.
Ottawa has seven wins and a tie against Washington since a 3-2 defeat March 28, 2003. The Senators have outscored the Capitals 35-10 in those games and not allowed more than two goals in any contest.
The Senators, who are 13-2-2 in their last 17 games, lead the Eastern Conference with 105 points and have a nine-point lead over the Buffalo Sabres in the Northeast Division.
Despite playing without their top three defenseman, the Senators posted a 4-1 win Thursday over the New York Rangers. Goaltender Ray Emery made 24 saves, and Dany Heatley had a goal and an assist for Ottawa, which played without Zdeno Chara (hand), Chris Phillips (knee) and Wade Redden (personal reasons).
"I asked a couple of guys if they could meet a challenge and they responded," coach Bryan Murray said. "It was a team hockey game, a team effort."
One of those Murray praised is Andrej Meszaros, who played nearly 30 minutes and led the effort to slow Rangers right wing Jaromir Jagr, the NHL's points leader. A rookie defenseman, Meszaros leads the NHL with a plus-38 rating.
"This was a big opportunity for me to show the coach I can play 30 minutes if need be," said Meszaros. "My focus was to keep Jagr in check and not letting him score any goals."
The next win will give the Senators their second 50-win season in franchise history. The 2002-03 team went 52-21-8-1.
The Capitals are 2-1-2 on a season-high seven-game road trip after a 3-2 overtime loss Thursday to the Montreal Canadiens. Jeff Halpern helped Washington salvage a point by scoring with three seconds left in regulation.
Alexander Ovechkin assisted on both goals and has five goals and seven assists in a seven-game points streak.
Ovechkin, whose 94 points lead rookies, is two goals shy of becoming just the fourth first-year player to score 50 goals in NHL history, joining Teemu Selanne (76), Mike Bossy (53) and Joe Nieuwendyk (51). Selanne accomplished the feat most recently, doing so with the Winnipeg Jets in the 1992-93 season.
"When I was young I scored 50 once and right now I have a situation where I can score 50," said Ovechkin, referring to when he was 13 or 14 playing in Russia. "But if you're thinking that you must score 50, you'll never score."
Ovechkin has one goal in three games against the Senators this season.
STANDINGS: Capitals - 58 points, 5th place, 44 PB, Southeast Division. Senators - 105 points, 1st place, Northeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Capitals - Ovechkin, 48 goals, 46 assists and 94 points; Chris Clark, 98 PIM. Senators - Heatley, 43 goals; Jason Spezza, 59 assists; Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson, 91 points; Chris Neil, 172 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Capitals - Power play: 14.4 percent (63 for 436), 28th in NHL. Penalty killing: 78.4 percent (388 for 495), 29th. Senators - Power play: 20.9 percent (91 for 435), 2nd. Penalty killing: 86.5 percent (373 for 431), 2nd.
GOALTENDERS: Capitals - Olaf Kolzig (18-26-10, 3.51 GAA); Brent Johnson (6-11-0, 3.86). Senators - Emery (21-6-3, 3 SO, 2.58); Mike Morrison (10-4-2, 2.80).
SEASON SERIES: Senators, 3-0-0.
LAST MEETING: March 12; Senators, 5-2. At Washington, Heatley and Spezza each had a goal and two assists for Ottawa. Clark scored his 14th goal of the season and added an assist for Washington.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Capitals - 9-21-4 on the road; Senators - 27-6-2 at home.