The Capitals continue their three-game California road trip tonight against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. The Capitals have earned a point in three consecutive games against the Kings and in four of their last five games against Los Angeles (3-1-1). Alex Ovechkin has registered 13 points (5g, 8a) in 14 career games against the Kings and has earned seven points in his last six games against Los Angeles (3g, 4a). Evgeny Kuznetsov has recorded a point in each of his seven career games against the Kings (2g, 5a). In addition, Washington has posted a 14-5-0 record against Western Conference opponents this season, including wins in nine of their last 12 games. The Capitals will play nine of their next 11 games against Western Conference teams.
Washington concludes its three-game road trip on Sunday at Anaheim. The Capitals rank fifth in the NHL in goals per game (3.00) on the road this season and fourth in goals against per game (2.53). In addition, Washington ranks tied for 10th in road wins (17). Kuznetsov has earned 27 points (10g, 17a) in 32 road games this season and leads the team in points recorded on the road and Matt Niskanen ranks sixth among NHL defensemen in road points (22).
Top Game Notes
Here to Assist
– Kevin Shattenkirk earned an assist on Thursday at San Jose, extending his assist streak to three games (3/4-3/9: 3a). In addition, Shattenkirk’s assist marked his 45th point of the season (11g, 34a), tying his career high (2013-14: 45). He also sits two assists shy of tying his career high in assists in a season (2014-15: 36). The New Rochelle, N.Y., native ranks tied for fourth among NHL defensemen in points this season (45), eighth in assists (34) and tied for eighth in goals (11). Shattenkirk is one of just five defensemen to rank in the top-10 in the League in goals, assists and points, joining Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson, Justin Schultz and Victor Hedman. He also ranks tied for second among defensemen in power-play goals (7), tied for third in power-play points (21) and tied for seventh in power-play assists (14).
Finding A Rhythm
– The Capitals are 30-3-2 this season in games when they have one day of rest and will play 44 games this season with one day of rest.
Feelin’ Grubi –
Philipp Grubauer has won seven of his last 11 starts and earned a point in 10 of his last 14 games (8-4-2). Grubauer has posted a 10-5-2 record this season with three shutouts, a 2.04 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage. The Rosenheim, Germany, native ranks fourth in the NHL in goals-against average and tied for sixth in save percentage this season (min. 15 GP). Grubauer is just the 11th goaltender in franchise history to record three or more shutouts in a season and is the first Capitals goaltender other than Braden Holtby to post three or more shutouts in a season since Tomas Vokoun (4) and Michal Neuvirth (3) during the 2011-12 season.
– 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 tallied 20 points in his last 17 games (1/31-3/9: 8g, 12a) and recorded a point in 22 of his last 29 games (1/5-3/9: 12g, 25a). Backstrom ranks second in the NHL in assists this season (46) and tied for seventh in points (67).
Braden Holtby leads the NHL in goals-against average (1.97) and shutouts (8) this season, ranks third in wins (34) and fifth in save percentage (.928). 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).
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