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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Thursday, March 2nd (All times eastern)

Washington Capitals (20-32-5) at Ottawa Senators (38-14-5), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Ottawa Senators try to draw closer to the top spot in the Eastern Conference tonight when they welcome the Washington Capitals to Scotiabank Place.

With 81 points, the Sens are three behind the Carolina Hurricanes for the East lead. Ottawa is four ahead of second-place Buffalo in the Northeast Division.

On Wednesday, gold medal winner Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley scored a goal and added an assist each, as the Senators edged the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-3, at Mellon Arena.

Peter Schaefer and Brian Pothier also scored for the Senators, who kicked off their post-Olympic schedule. Goaltender Ray Emery made 27 saves in place of starter Dominik Hasek, who sustained a strained adductor muscle in the Czech Republic's opening Olympic game against Germany.

The Senators will visit rival Toronto on Saturday night.

Washington, meanwhile, lost four straight before the break, but came back strong with Tuesday's 5-3 win in Toronto. Matt Pettinger scored twice and Brent Johnson was sharp with 26 saves for the Capitals.

Alexander Ovechkin, Ben Clymer and Brian Willsie also scored for Washington. The Capitals' last win came on February 3 against the Maple Leafs.

The Caps will visit Atlanta on Saturday.

Ottawa defeated Washington, 3-1, on January 4 and is 5-0-1 (1 tie) in the last six meetings.

03/02 10:33:22 ET

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