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Game Day Preview #59, Washington Capitals @ Los Angeles Kings

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The Kings get one more try against the defending Cup champs

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

HOW TO WATCH

Game Time: 7:30 PM Pacific
TV: Fox Sports West
Radio: iHeart Radio
The Opposition: Japers’ Rink

It’s been an up and down road for the defending Stanley Cup champs since they dispatched the Kings by a score of 6-4 a week ago.

A strong team win over the San Jose Sharks has been bookended by a shut-out loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a game in which the Capitals only had 20 shots total all night, and a 5-2 loss last night to the Anaheim Ducks. The Capitals were limited to 25 shots in that game while allowing 39 to reach Braden Holtby, who couldn’t stop the onslaught of the suddenly surging Ducks. (Yes, that felt as strange to type as you think it might.)

While Alex Ovechkin may be the greatest goal scorer ever and the supporting cast around him continues to be made up of some exciting yet underrated players, the Capitals haven’t been able to mask their inconsistencies this season. The first three games of their road trip encapsulate much of their struggles to date. A consistent effort level has been elusive for the Capitals for much of the season, and that’s been on display lately. They also dealt with discipline issues, allowing Anaheim to score twice on the power play in the third period. The Ducks may be motivated to prove that they, too, aren’t in complete need of a rebuild, but the Capitals made them look like champions last night.

For the Kings, they’re just looking to end this current brief homestand with a win. Or a point. Or an overall competent didn’t-win-but-tried-hard sort of showing. They looked better as the game progressed against the Bruins, but also appeared to slip back into some old bad habits. It took them a while to look even the slightest bit motivated, and much like in the loss against Vancouver, last minute lapses cost them the game.

Special teams have been a factor, too, with the Kings penalty kill giving up three goals in the last five games, on top of the shorthanded goal the power play allowed. The Kings have at least scored three power play goals in that five-game span, but they’ve had just as many times where they’ve looked inept with the man advantage as they have looked competent.

For the lineup, it looks as though Mike Amadio will be scratched again. Sean Walker is still recovering from the 20+ stitches he received after taking a puck to the face. There are no concussion concerns, apparently, but the team is still not rushing him back into the lineup. Matt Roy will stay in, playing his second NHL game. Alec Martinez remains injured, which at least means he won’t be traded before the deadline. Jack Campbell starts, as Jonathan Quick is still recovering from the flu-ish thing that kept him out against Boston. For the Capitals, TJ Oshie is questionable for the game. Pheonix Copley, who prevailed over the Kings in his last outing, is projected to be in net.

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