OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators are expected to start Craig Anderson in goal when they host the Washington Capitals on Saturday, their last game before the Christmas break.
But they could also pull a fast one and go with Mike McKenna.
Anderson, the Senators number one goalie, was yanked after two periods of a 5-2 Friday's game in New Jersey against the Devils. He had given up five goals on 32 shots. Backup Mike McKenna entered the game and stopped all seven shots he faced in the eventual 5-2 loss that dropped Ottawa's road record to 4-12-1.
Anderson, who has performed brilliantly this season, could use a break. He has started 31 of Ottawa's 37 games this seasons. At the same time, McKenna has played well. He stopped all seven shots he faced in the third period and continues to look more comfortable with every chance he gets.
Either way, the Senators (15-17-4) are going to hope they can go to the break on a high note.
"You've got to bear down mentally," Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki told the Ottawa Sun. "It's a couple of days before Christmas. It's on us. We've got to take the onus there and make sure we really bear down and focus and create our own energy and create some life and don't fall into that."
Thursday's loss followed a familiar scrip.
"Too many mistakes," said Matt Duchene, who returned to the line from the injury list and scored both Senators goals. "Their top line single-handedly beat us. That's what I saw. I'm sure there e is some other stuff, too, that we should clean up, but it was disappointing."
The Senators will have to clean up their act in a hurry.
"That was not a good team game at all," said coach Guy Boucher. "That was our worst one in a while."
The Metropolitan Division leading Capitals (21-10-3) squeaked by the Buffalo Sabres on Friday with a 2-1 victory. Tom Wilson scored the winning goal with seven minutes left.
"Found a way to win and that's what good teams do," coach Todd Reirden told reporters. "We dealt with some adversity on a non-goal call and some penalty kills at the end, 6-on-4. I like the adversity for our team and the fact that we were able to come out of here with two points."
In an interesting quirk with the schedule, the Senators also host the Capitals on Dec. 29.
Tom Wilson scored the winner against the Devils with seven minutes to go . It was Washington's seventh win it eight games.
Braden Holtby stopped 36 of 37 shots for the win. Phoenix Copley is expected to start against the Senators.
The Senators return from the break to visit the Islanders Dec. 28. The Capitals. The Capitals return to work when they host the Carolina Hurricanes on Dec. 27.