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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, December 7th (All times Eastern)

Washington Capitals (13-12-1) at Ottawa Senators (13-11-3), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals have managed just one win since Dale Hunter took over as head coach, but that victory came against the Ottawa Senators, who will host the Caps tonight at Scotiabank Place.

The Capitals are 1-3-0 since Hunter was hired to replace Bruce Boudreau behind the bench on Nov. 29. Washington was dealt 2-1 losses by St. Louis and Pittsburgh in Hunter's first two tests as an NHL head coach before closing the three-game homestand with Saturday's overtime win over Ottawa.

Brooks Laich scored 12 seconds into OT, lifting Washington to the 3-2 victory. Michal Neuvirth made 32 saves in the win, while Craig Anderson turned aside the same number of shots in a losing effort.

The Caps have won two straight and five of the last six meetings with Ottawa. The Senators, however, have posted five wins in the last six encounters in Canada's capital city.

Washington has lost a game since beating the Sens last week, dropping Monday's 5-4 road test at Florida. The Caps fell behind 3-0 in the first period and also trailed 5-1 in the second before rallying to make a game of it.

Laich, Mike Knuble, Cody Eakin, and Jason Chimera tallied goals for the Capitals, while Neuvirth stopped 25-of-30 shots to take the loss.

Florida's power-play unit hurt the Caps, as the Panthers went 3-for-6 on the man advantage.

"The first period we didn't play much 5-on-5," Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner said. "You can't take that many penalties and expect to win the game with four guys."

It was the fifth straight road loss for the Caps, who are just 4-8-0 as the visiting club this season. Washington has been outscored by a combined 24-8 margin during its current road skid.

Following tonight's test, the Caps will return to D.C. for games against Toronto and Philadelphia.

The Senators were able to rebound from their recent loss to the Caps by earning a home win Monday against Tampa Bay. Nick Foligno scored the winner in the third to help lift the Senators to the 4-2 victory.

Zack Smith scored twice while Daniel Alfredsson added a goal and an assist for the Senators, who snapped a two-game losing streak. Anderson stopped 31 shots in the win.

"We've been putting the work in at practice and it's starting to show," said Foligno. "We had the energy and desire out there in the third period and that was big tonight."

Ottawa has won its last two home tilts to improve to 7-4-1 at Scotiabank Place this season.

Washington has played the last two games without winger Alexander Semin and it's not exactly clear if the Russian forward missed the game due to a shoulder injury or if he's been a healthy scratch. Semin, who is set to be a free agent in the summer, has been mentioned in trade rumors recently and his status for tonight's game is up in the air.

Caps defenseman Roman Hamrlik is questionable tonight after sitting out the last three games with a lower body injury.

Ottawa defenseman Filip Kuba has missed the last three games with an upper body issue and is questionable for tonight.

12/07 10:42:02 ET


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