|Alexander Ovechkin skates during the Washington Capitals pre-game skate at Scotiabank Place this morning. Photo: OSHC|
by Todd Anderson
For the second night in a row, the Senators will face one of the NHL's brightest stars. While the team defeated Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 last night, they will look for another two points against rookie phenom Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals tonight at Scotiabank Place.
With 37 goals and 70 points, Ovechkin enters the game as the eighth leading scorer in the NHL.
"This guy is an outstanding player," Senators coach Bryan Murray said. "He was highlighted in (Russia's Winter Olympic) game against Canada without a doubt. We're fortunate as a league to have guys like this come in."
Added defenceman Brian Pothier, "He's a special player. It's best to keep him in the perimeter and make sure he doesn't do his fancy tricks."
Ottawa had a wake-up call last night when they let a solid 4-0 lead dwindle to 4-3 in the third period against the Penguins, who rank as the lowest team in the NHL standings. The Capitals rank just two spots higher than Pittsburgh, but Mike Fisher is one player who won't take them lightly.
"Last night after (Pittsburgh's) third goal we were like â€˜whoa, we have to pick it up here.' Washington went into Toronto (on Tuesday) and beat them. We have to be ready."
Fisher trusts teammates Zdeno Chara and Chris Phillips can hold off Ovechkin tonight.
"For me, (Ovechkin) is one of the most exciting players in the league. It's going to be a good matchup."
While the Caps' sharpshooter deserves attention, Bryan Smolinski warns that all the emphasis should not be paid on just one individual.
"One guy does not a team make."
Canadian Forces Appreciation Night
The second annual Canadian Forces Appreciation Night will be held at Scotiabank Place tonight. A ceremonial faceoff will include Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier, and Corp. Rob Pike, who recently returned from assignment in Afghanistan, and his son Tristain. Canadian Forces members will also take part in the national anthems.