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Caps go for 4 in a row against struggling Senators

by Corey Masisak /

SENATORS (1-3-0) at CAPITALS (3-0-0)


Season Series: This is the first meeting. Washington won three of four against Ottawa last season, with neither team scoring more than three goals in any of the games.

Big Story: The Capitals are hoping to continue their undefeated start, but would like to do so in 60 minutes for the first time this season, while the Senators are hoping to do a better job at keeping keep the puck out of their net after allowing 21 goals in four games.

Team Scope:

Senators: Ottawa is smarting from a 7-1 loss at home Thursday to the Colorado Avalanche. The Senators have yielded at least five goals in each of their three losses, and also allowed at least 35 shots on net in each of those games. There is loads of young talent on Ottawa's blue line, but the rebuilding Senators may continue to deal with growing pains.

Who hasn't been playing up front for Ottawa has created as much attention as who has been in the lineup. Nikita Filatov is a young, talented player who has had an inconsistent start to his career, and the Senators acquired him from Columbus this summer with the hope of fulfilling some of his vast potential. Filatov was a healthy scratch after two games and has been shipped to the AHL. Bobby Butler, who had 21 points in 36 games last season and is considered one of the team's top forward prospects, has been scratched twice by new coach Paul MacLean and has been battling groin problems.

Capitals: Washington's perfect start has been far from, well, perfect. The Capitals haven't played all that well in any of their games but have collected two overtime wins and one triumph in the shootout. Tomas Vokoun had a bad debut in a 6-5 win, but bounced back in a big way to steal a win Thursday against Pittsburgh in a game the Capitals were outshot 41-19.

The Capitals boast scoring depth on defense with guys like Mike Green, Dennis Wideman and John Carlson, but Karl Alzner has been a surprise with three points in three games as well.

Who's Hot: Defenseman Erik Karlsson has six assists for the Senators. He had 45 points last season, and the 21-year-old could spend his third season among the League scoring leaders at his position. … Washington left wing Jason Chimera hasn't scored more than 17 goals in a season in his career, but coach Bruce Boudreau said during the preseason he thinks he has the potential to reach 20. Chimera has three in the first three games.

Injury Report: Ottawa defenseman Matt Carkner is out until November with a knee injury. Forward Jesse Winchester is also out with a shoulder injury, and Butler is battling a groin injury that's expected to keep him out. … Washington goaltender Michal Neuvirth did not travel to Pittsburgh because of a lower-body injury and didn't practice Friday. Forward Jay Beagle was injured in a fight Thursday, but Boudreau said he has not had concussion symptoms and is not ruled out for this game.

Stat Pack: Washington defenseman Roman Hamrlik will play in his 1,315th game Saturday, and that will break the mark previously held by Bobby Holik for the most games played in the NHL by a player born and trained in the Czech Republic. Hamrlik leads all Czech-born defensemen in goals, assists and shots on goal.

Puck Drop: Alex Ovechkin wasn't at his best in Washington's first two games, and traveling to Russia because of a death in the family may have kept him from being at his optimal level, but he had a big game Thursday against the Penguins. Not only did he score his first goal of the season, but he got involved in the physical play and was more of a consistent threat offensively.

"Something about Pittsburgh and [Ovechkin] -- it just seems like they go together well," Alzner said. "He brings his 'A' game every single time. I think a little bit of it has to do with (Evgeni) Malkin -- those guys are buddies and there is a lot between them. I think he wants to outdo him a little bit. That's the Ovechkin that everybody says is the best player in the world -- when he's doing that I think he's pretty tough to stop I'd say."

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