Ducks Will Provide Rude Welcome to Capitals in Trip to California

capitals hockey

Matthew Jordan

Monday, March 5, 2018 5:47 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 5, 2018 5:47 PM UTC

The Washington Capitals start their three-game California Swing on Tuesday night (10 ET) with a nationally televised matchup at the Anaheim Ducks.

Washington Capitals (81 points) at Anaheim Ducks (78 points)Free NHL Pick: DucksBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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Nine games on Tuesday’s NHL schedule, and the latest of them is this 10 p.m. ET start on the NBC Sports Network as Washington makes its only visit of the season to Anaheim to open a three-game trek through California.

The Capitals go for the season sweep as they beat the visiting Ducks 3-2 in overtime on Dec. 16. Alex Ovechkin scored the winner at 1:58 of the extra period; we could see history regarding Ovechkin on Tuesday. More on that shortly. He added an assist in the first matchup and was the No. 1 star. Braden Holtby was the No. 2 with 28 saves and Anaheim’s John Gibson the No. 3 with 24 stops. The Ducks led 2-0 entering the third. Washington didn’t have a single power-play opportunity.

Washington is 6-2 in the past eight meetings.

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Third Straight Division Crown For Caps?

What do these clubs have in common? They have won their respective division at least each of the past two seasons. The Capitals were the Presidents’ Trophy winners those two years and could threepeat in the Metropolitan Division as they currently lead it – but Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are right on their heels. The Ducks have taken the Pacific Division each of the past five seasons, but that run is going to end with Vegas comfortably leading it. Anaheim isn’t even assured of making the playoffs but probably will.

If this game were outdoors, I’d have to recommend betting on Washington as it improved to 3-0-0 all-time outdoors following Saturday’s 5-2 win over Toronto at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md. That’s the last outdoor game this season but won’t be the last ever at a U.S. service academy as the league plans to play games at Army’s West Point and the Air Force Academy over the next few years.

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What an unforgettable night of hockey in Annapolis. Relive all the sights and sounds from out on the ice to inside the locker room at the 2018 @NHL#StadiumSeries as the #Caps took home a 5-2 win at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/VzjbGTw6D2

— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 4, 2018
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Ovechkin had a goal vs. Toronto, his 40th of the season and 598th career – so if he nets two here, he would become the 20th member of the 600-goal club. As it was, the Russian, who leads the NHL in goals this season, became the sixth player in NHL history with nine-plus 40-goal seasons, joining Hall of Famers Wayne Gretzky (12), Marcel Dionne (10), Mario Lemieux (10), Mike Gartner (nine) and Mike Bossy (nine). In 15 career games vs. the Ducks, Ovechkin had 10 goals and 13 assists. Jakub Vrana snapped a 25-game goalless drought with 11th of the season Saturday. Holtby had 27 saves in snapping a six-game winless streak (0-4-2).

The Ducks won their second straight Sunday, 6-3 over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks. Jakob Silfverberg and Corey Perry each scored twice as Anaheim earned at least a point in an eighth straight game (6-0-2) at the Honda Center. Rickard Rakell scored for the third straight game, Ryan Getzlaf had three assists after missing a game with an illness, and Gibson had 37 saves. Rakell is on his third goals streak of at least three games this season; his career high is six straight games. He leads the club with 27 goals.

The Caps are just 1-4 in their past five after a win, while the Ducks are 4-1 in their past five following one. Take Anaheim for your Tuesday NHL pick. Holtby has struggled away from home this season with an ugly 3.93 GAA and .889 save percentage.

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