The Capitals begin their three-game California road trip on Thursday against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center. Washington has posted a 14-4-0 record against Western Conference opponents this season, including wins in nine of their last 11 games. The Capitals will play 10 of their next 12 games against Western Conference teams.
Alex Ovechkin has registered 12 points (7g, 5a) in 15 career games against the Sharks and has earned five points in his last four games against San Jose (2g, 3a). Nicklas Backstrom has earned nine points (1g, 8a) in 11 career games against the Sharks and has tallied five assists in his last four games against San Jose (5a). Kevin Shattenkirk has earned 16 points (5g, 11a) in 20 career games against the Sharks, including eight points in his last seven games against San Jose (1g, 7a). Shattenkirk tied his career high with four points (1g, 3a) at San Jose on Jan. 3, 2015.
Top Game Notes
– Nicklas Backstrom earned two points (1g, 1a) on Monday against Dallas, marking his team-leading 17th multi-point game of the season and 193rd of his career. Since he entered the NHL in 2007-08, Backstrom ranks fourth in the League in multi-point games and he ranks tied for ninth in the NHL in multi-point games this season. Backstrom scored his 21st goal of the season on Monday, marking his most goals in a season since 2009-10 (33) and the third-most goals he has scored in a season in his career (10 seasons). Backstrom has scored a goal in three of his last four games (2/29-3/6: 3g, 1a) and tallied 20 points in his last 16 games (1/31-3/6: 8g, 12a). In addition, he has tallied a point in 22 of his last 28 games (1/5-3/6: 12g, 25a). Backstrom ranks third in the NHL in assists this season (46) and tied for fifth in points (67).
Braden Holtby leads the NHL in goals-against average (1.93) and shutouts (8) this season, ranks third in wins (34) and fifth in save percentage (.929). Holtby posted a 21-game point streak from Dec. 29 to March 4 (19-0-2), marking the third-longest point streak in franchise history, trailing Jose Theodore in 2009-10 (20-0-3) and himself last season (20-0-2). In addition, Holtby joined Pete Peeters (1979-80, 1982-83) as the only goalies in NHL history to post two single-season unbeaten streaks of 20 or more decisions. The Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, native is one of four goaltenders to earn 30 wins in each of the last three seasons (Devan Dubnyk, Henrik Lundqvist, Tuukka Rask) and is aiming to become the third goaltender in NHL history to record three consecutive 40-win seasons, joining Martin Brodeur (2005-08) and Evgeni Nabokov (2007-10). Since 2012-13, Holtby leads the NHL in wins (169) and shutouts (28).
– T.J. Oshie has scored 25 goals on 110 shots this season and leads the NHL in shooting percentage (22.7%). In addition, Marcus Johansson ranks fourth in the NHL in shooting percentage (20.8%) and Brett Connolly ranks 11th (18.8%). The Capitals rank second in the NHL in shooting percentage (10.9%), trailing Minnesota (11.0%).
O From D –
Capitals defensemen have earned a point in 56 of the team’s 65 games this season and have combined to register 143 points (20g, 123a). Washington has posted a 42-8-6 record this season in games when a defenseman records a point. The Capitals rank first in the NHL in assists by defensemen this season (123), third in even-strength points (111) and tied for fourth in points (143).
– The Capitals rank tied for fourth in the NHL in penalty kill percentage this season (85.0%) and have not allowed a power-play goal in four consecutive games (2/28-3/6: 16 for 16). Karl Alzner ranks fifth in the NHL in shorthanded time on ice (207:39) and Jay Beagle ranks first among forwards in shorthanded time on ice (187:49).
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Thursday Caps Clips
SAN JOSE SHARKS CLIPS:
Hansen likely to debut for Sharks vs. Caps
CSN Bay Area:
Despite struggles, Sharks top power play unit unchanged
Sharks newcomer Hansen practices on top line
Three Takeaways: Gutsy Effort For Sharks Over Hard-Working Jets
Prospect Spotlight: Marcus Vela
Sharks Reassign Labanc to the Barracuda
San Jose Mercury News:
Sharks notes: DeMelo earns kudos, ‘moderate’ concern for power play and what did DeBoer tell Labanc?
Jannik Hansen soaks in first day in a Sharks’ uniform
Sharks edge Jets as Joe Thornton gets to milestone