Leclaire, Kovalev suit up

Rookie Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson will face Alex Ovechkin for the first time tonight. (QMI...

Rookie Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson will face Alex Ovechkin for the first time tonight. (QMI Agency)

DON BRENNAN, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 1:38 PM ET

WASHINGTON -- Both Pascal Leclaire and Alex Kovalev will shake off nagging injuries to be in the lineup tonight when the Senators play the Capitals at Verizon Center.

So will Erik Karlsson, the rookie defenceman who will be facing Alex Ovechkin for the first time in his career.

Karlsson, who is minus-10 in 26 games, was in the minors when the Senators and Caps squared off at Scotiabank Place Nov 23. Coach Cory Clouston said he contemplated inserting veteran Chris Campoli into the lineup ahead of Karlsson.

Instead, Campoli will be a healthy scratch tonight for the seventh time this season.

"There was some thought, but other than a couple of plays I thought Erik has played well since he got back into the lineup," said Clouston, referring to Karlsson's three-game stint in the pressbox just after Christmas. "We're not quite ready to shake up the lineup yet."

Clouston will try to have his shutdown pairing of Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov on the ice against Ovechkin, but that's not always possible. For example, rookie Matt Carkner figured he played "three or four" shifts against Ovechkin Nov. 23. Tonight, the Capitals will also get the last line change, as they are the home team.

Karlsson said he wasn't intimidated about the prospect of facing the game's most dangerous player.

"You don't want him to shoot the puck maybe, you try to take away his shot and make him pass the puck," said Karlsson. "Other than that, I'm just going to try and focus on my game."


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