The red-hot Capitals will try to keep rolling against one of the league's worst clubs and move into a tie atop the Eastern Conference when they face the Ottawa Senators on Friday night.
Washington's hopes of finishing with the East's best record seemed to take a hit Monday when it was revealed Ovechkin would be sidelined for seven to 10 days with an undisclosed injury. That announcement came a day before the Capitals faced conference-leading Philadelphia.
Washington jumped out to a 3-0 lead in that game, but trailed with 5:45 remaining. Marcus Johansson then delivered the tying goal and Alexander Semin's shootout score gave the Capitals a 5-4 win.
"The important part for us, is that a team came back, scores four goals and takes a lead on us. But we battled back, and obviously, we did great in the shootout," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "But it was important for us to show the where-with-all to come back. When you believe you can win, you can do a lot of things."
Washington clinched a playoff berth with its 11th win in 12 games and eighth in nine road contests, but more importantly, it climbed within a point of Philadelphia for the East lead. The Flyers followed with a 2-1 shootout loss to Pittsburgh on Thursday.
The Capitals would seem to have a good chance to catch Philadelphia heading into a meeting against the East's worst team.
Washington has won all three matchups with Ottawa this season, but Boudreau isn't going to overlook the Senators, who have won three of their last four.
"I've come to the feeling that's there's just no weak team with the salary cap," he said. "There's no chance we'll take Ottawa lightly."
The Senators had scored three goals in three consecutive games going into Thursday's game with the New York Rangers. They only needed only one goal in regulation and one in a shootout for a 2-1 victory, ending the Rangers five-game winning streak.
"We're not going to let up," coach Cory Clouston said. "We keep pushing the players. They responded very well. We did a good job of creating momentum right at the start and we did a good job of taking the crowd out."
Ottawa will next try to avoid the season sweep to Washington, but might have to face Michal Neuvirth, who has a 1.63 goals-against average in three matchups in 2010-11. Semyon Varlamov, who hasn't played since Feb. 20, is 0-1-1 with a 5.00 GAA in two career meetings with the Senators.
The Capitals, though, might also have to face Craig Anderson, who beat Washington 3-2 on Dec. 11 with Colorado before being traded Feb. 18. Curtis McElhinney gave up a career-worst seven goals in his only start against the Capitals on Feb. 16 while with Anaheim.
During Washington's previous trip to Ottawa on Dec. 19, Mathieu Perreault scored twice to help his team snap a season-worst, eight-game skid with a 3-2 victory.
AccuScore has powered more than 10,000 simulations for every NHL game on ESPN.com, calculating how each team's performance changes in response to game conditions and opponent's abilities. Each game is simulated and the game is replayed a minimum of 10,000 times to generate forecasted winning percentages.