ANAHEIM – A blizzard derailed the first meeting between the Washington Capitals and the Anaheim Ducks in late January, but Monday night’s meeting might make for one of the most intriguing matchups of the season. The Capitals are the league’s best team and the Ducks are the hottest.
Anaheim enters the game on a franchise-record 11-game win streak, battling for first place in the Pacific Division. Since Christmas, the Ducks are 25-4-2 (52 points) and the Capitals are 23-7-2 (48 points). The game will mark another reunion with Anaheim Coach Bruce Boudreau, who coached Washington from 2007-11.
Boudreau said he’s been most impressed with his team’s power play during its hot streak, as the Ducks’ man-advantage is 19-for-42 (45.2 percent) during the 11-game run. That will present a significant test for the Capitals’ penalty kill, ranked fourth in the league. Washington was impressive when shorthanded against Boston, the turning point of the game coming when the Capitals killed a nearly two-minute-long Bruins five-on-three.
Washington has been exceptional on the road this season, with a 22-7-2 record, which ranks first in the NHL in road point percentage (.742), second in road wins, and road points (46). The Capitals’ 22 road wins are tied for the most through a team’s first 31 road games in league history, and Washington has earned a point in 20 of its last 25 games away from Verizon Center.
Braden Holtby will start for the Capitals, and he’s 40-8-3 with a 2.24 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. Frederik Andersen will backstop the Ducks, and he is 18-8-6 with a 2.21 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage.
The lineup is below, and the discussion thread is now open.
Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-T.J. Oshie
Andre Burakovsky-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Justin Williams
Jason Chimera-Marcus Johansson-Tom Wilson
Daniel Winnik-Mike Richards-Jay Beagle
Karl Alzner-Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik-Dmitry Orlov
Mike Weber-Nate Schmidt
Braden Holtby (starter)
John Carlson (lower-body)