Alex Ovechkin has gone three straight games without a goal for the first time and ending that mini-slump could be difficult in his next game.
Washington (20-14-5) was victimized by a terrific performance by Ryan Miller in Sunday's 2-1 shootout loss in Buffalo. The Capitals outshot the Sabres 50-17 but Miller came up with 49 saves - including all 12 on Ovechkin.
"'We made the right decisions with the puck, and the power play was working today, but we didn't score,'' said Ovechkin, whose shot total was a season high. ''(Miller) was on top of his game and he carried them into the shootout and onto victory.''
Ovechkin's league-high goal total remains stuck on 30 and history says that getting to 31 could be difficult.
He has scored once in eight games at Ottawa over the previous five seasons for his worst output in an Eastern Conference city.
If Ottawa (16-18-7) starts Craig Anderson, it figures to add to the challenge.
Anderson is 9-2-1 with a 2.49 goals-against average over his last 12 starts against the Capitals, with victories in the last five. Ovechkin has played in nine of those games, scoring three times.
The Senators won 6-4 at Washington on Nov. 27 in the lone 2013-14 meeting. Bobby Ryan scored twice and Anderson made 29 saves.
Ottawa is unsure of the statuses of captain Jason Spezza and defenseman Chris Phillips, who both sat out Saturday's 4-3 home win over Boston with lower-body injuries.
Ryan scored the winning goal with 4:35 remaining as the Senators avenged a 5-0 loss in Boston the night before.
"Hopefully this is a building block," Ryan said. "We got points at home and we got a good team here coming in to close out the homestand here Monday night so it's going to be a big one."
Now Ottawa is seeking consecutive wins for the first time since a season-best three-game run Nov. 5-9.
"There's still things that we can do better in our game and do more consistently in our game and we have to be here to do it because we have another difficult game coming up here on Monday," coach Paul MacLean said.
Washington fell out of the top spot in the league on the power play by failing on both chances Sunday to drop to 25.5 percent. Troy Brouwer had its lone goal.
"I can't really complain on the night," coach Adam Oates said. "We had 15 shots in every period, we did a lot of good things, yeah there's always mistakes, but we played a pretty solid game. Obviously, you want to win but I'm not disappointed in the game."
These teams spent plenty of time in the penalty box in the first meeting. Washington was 2 for 4 on the power play and Ottawa converted a season-high three times in six chances.
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