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Game Day #50: Kings @ Capitals

If the Kings are going to solve their road woes, this is gonna be where it happens.

"Dustin, a question: WHAT IS GOING ON?!"
"Dustin, a question: WHAT IS GOING ON?!"
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Capitals v Los Angeles Kings (Verizon Center)

Time: 4:00 PM PST

TV: Fox Sports West, SportsNet

Enemy Reading: Japers' Rink

Washington Capitals

Ovechkin–Backstrom–Johansson
Laich–Fehr–Ward
Burakovsky–Kuznetsov–Brouwer
Volpatti–Beagle–Wilson

Orpik–Carlson
Alzner–Niskanen
Hillen–Green

Holtby
(Peters)

Scratched: Chimera, Latta; Injured: Orlov, Erskine

Los Angeles Kings

Gaborik–Kopitar–Brown
King–Carter–Toffoli
Clifford–Stoll–Williams
Lewis–Andreoff–Nolan

Muzzin–Doughty
Regehr–Martinez
McNabb–Greene

Quick
(Jones)

Scratched: Shore, McBain; Injured: Pearson; Suspended: Voynov

Notes:

  • I know the realization of the next game being a road game is usually accompanied by wailing and gnashing of teeth, but LA's had recent success in Washington. The Kings have won their last three games at the Verizon Center and are 7-0-2 in their last nine games in DC.
  • Last season, the Kings stole crucial March points from the Capitals, winning both games of the home-and-home in shootouts. The second game was especially wacky, with the Caps tying it up on a shorthanded goal in the final minute.
  • Alex Ovechkin was the NHL's First Star in January, which can happen when you score 12 goals in a single month. Ovechkin has 15 goals since December 29; the Kings' leading goalscorer, Marian Gaborik, has 15 goals this season. (That's 36 games for him, by the way.)
  • The Capitals' power play provides the stiffest of tests for a struggling penalty kill unit which has been a major source of LA's recent woes. With Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom doing most of the damage, Washington scores on 23.5% of their man advantages.
  • Braden Holtby has been one of the NHL's most valuable goalies this season, and after three straight outings of four goals against, he's stopped 57 of 58 over his last two starts. The second one was a 1-0 loss to Montreal, because Carey Price has been absurdly good this year.
  • And that's the bright side: Washington has had even worse luck winning close games lately than LA, with six one-goal losses in their last seven games. It isn't hurting them too much; they're in eighth in the East, but they're eight points ahead of ninth-place Florida. What a silly conference.
  • As for LA, it looks like Andy Andreoff gets his (twelfth) chance to make a case for a lineup spot, with the recently promoted Nick Shore sitting out today. Andreoff is still searching for his first NHL point; if Jordan Nolan can score on Tuukka Rask, why can't Andreoff score tonight?
  • From Jon Rosen, here's Jarret Stoll talking about the bummer of a January:
    In years past, I can’t really remember if that’s similar or not, but it’s the same bottom line here, we are where we are. That’s similar, but we’ve got to get our game going. I don’t even want to talk about it anymore to be honest with you. I just want to win hockey games and focus and worry about that.
    Neither do we, Jarret. Neither do we.
  • Prediction: Kings 4, Capitals 2.