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Caps Today and Top Game Notes, 3/11/17

March 11, 2017
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.

Saint Nick – 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).

Holt-beast – 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).

Must Read/See/Hear Material
Dump n’ Chase: Caps Seek to Topple Kings in Los Angeles / POSTGAME NOTEBOOK: Sharks 4, Caps 2
Monumental Sports Network: Barry Trotz 3/10/17 / Matt Niskanen 3/10/17
CSN Mid-Atlantic: With the Caps Scuffling, Coach Barry Trotz Shook Things Up Friday / Penn Quarter Q&A: Is History Repeating for the Caps? / After Consecutive Regulation Losses, Capitals Face Questions About Last Season’s Swoon / Prediction Recap: Caps Get Good Start, Bad Finish
Washington Post: After back-to-back losses, Capitals have new lines for first time in months / Capitals Insider: The Caps are 5-4-1 since their bye week. Are they headed for another late-season slide?
Associated Press: Kings bracing for league-best Capitals
ESPN: It's time to shake things up and go old school for the Stanley Cup playoffs
Japers’ Rink: Saturday Caps Clips­

LOS ANGELES KINGS CLIPS: 
LA Kings Insider: "A Very Good Student of the Game," Ladue Acclimating Quickly / March 10 Practice Notes Muzzin Fined For Diving/Embellishment, Ladue Preview / Waking up with the Kings: March 10
Los Angeles Daily News:  Kings’ Jake Muzzin fined $2,000 for embellishment / Kings, Iginla work overtime to beat Predators / Drew Doughty says Kings must be mentally stronger / Tanner Pearson’s accuracy paying dividends for Kings
Los Angeles Times:  Three things we learned from the Kings' 3-2 win over the Nashville PredatorsKings' Jarome Iginla strikes the Predators down in overtime, 3-2
NHL.com:  Jake Muzzin Fined by NHL for Diving/Embellishment / Jarome Iginla lifts Kings past Predators in OT
Yahoo! Sports: Iginla gets 2nd goal in OT, leads Kings past Nashville 3-2

GAME NOTES


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