Opponents have struggled to beat the Washington Capitals at home this season. The Ottawa Senators have been familiar with that scenario recently.
The Capitals seek their third consecutive win at the Verizon Center and a sixth straight home victory Sunday against the Senators, who have lost five of their last seven road games.
Southeast Division-leading Washington (31-15-4) is off to its best start since opening 31-12-7 in 1984-85. Keying that success has been its dominance at home, where the Capitals boast the top record in the Eastern Conference (20-3-1).
With 17 games remaining there, including three of their next four, they're in a favorable position to surpass the club record of 30 home victories, set in 1985-86.
Washington won for the 11th time in 13 games at the Verizon Center on Saturday, 4-2 over defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit. Alex Ovechkin scored twice within a 1:16 span in the third period, breaking a 2-all tie to help the Capitals avoid a third straight defeat.
"It's a huge victory for us," said Ovechkin, among the league leaders with 33 goals. "It gives us a lot of confidence. They were missing a couple of players, but it's very important to play an experienced team and this game meant a lot to us."
Ovechkin has meant just as much to the Capitals, who are 9-0-1 this season when he scores at least two goals. Five of those performances have come at the Verizon Center, where he has recorded 33 (20 goals, 13 assists) of his team-leading 62 points.
The league's reigning MVP also has 21 points in 15 career games versus Ottawa, including five goals and five assists during Washington's five-game home winning streak in the series. After falling 5-2 on March 12, 2006, the Capitals have outscored the Senators 25-11 over this run.
Washington has won eight of its last 12 matchups versus Ottawa (17-23-7), but is 1-1-1 entering the final contest of this season's series. Both defeats have come away from the Verizon Center, most recently 3-2 on Jan. 20.
The road hasn't been kind to the Senators in 2008-09, as their six wins away from home are tied with the New York Islanders for the fewest in the league.
Ottawa was trying for its third straight road victory on Friday night, but fell 1-0 to Columbus in the second stop of a three-game swing.
After averaging 3.2 goals in their previous six games, the Senators were held to a season low-tying 18 shots as they endured their fifth shutout. They're last in the NHL with 112 goals.
"You've just got to find a way in games like that to get that goal that you need," coach Craig Hartsburg told the Senators' official Web site.
Forward Daniel Alfredsson, one game shy of reaching 900 for his career, leads the Senators with 30 assists and is second with 42 points.
The Senators captain has a goal and five assists over his last nine contests, but was kept off the scoresheet in the latest matchup with Washington. He has 29 goals - tied for his most against any opponent - and 53 points in 46 lifetime meetings.
Jose Theodore is 1-4-1 with a 3.33 goals-against average in his last six matchups versus Ottawa. However, he's 11-3-0 with a 1.98 GAA in 14 home games for the Capitals.
Washington is 11-4-0 with a tie in 16 all-time contests played at home on Super Bowl Sunday.