Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview: Anaheim Ducks vs Washington Capitals

The Anaheim Ducks look to end their four game road trip, and go into the Christmas by extending their franchise record winning streak to nine games against the Washington Capitals.

With a come from behind 5-3 victory over the New York Islanders, the Ducks won their eighth in a row on Saturday night, and the team they won their seventh in a row, the New Jersey Devils, got the best of the Capitals in their last game.

The Capitals are obviously led by Alexander Ovechkin, who scored his 30th goal of the season in their last contest and has scored in each of the team’s last four games. Currently on a torrid pace, Ovechkin is on pace to be the first 70-goal scorer since both Teemu Selanne (a tad bit of irony, no?) and Alexander Mogilny both topped 70 in the 1992-93 season as rookies.

Before we get into the player matchups, here is a breakdown of the team’s;

Anaheim Ducks

Category

Washington Capitals

26-7-5 (57 points)

Record

19-13-4 (42 points)

8-0-2

Last Ten Games

6-2-2

21-73 (2nd)

Home/Away Power Play

19-123 (23rd)

60-76 (25th)

Home/Away Penalty Kill

97-120 (26th)

3.21

Goals/Game

2.97

2.42

Goals Against/Game

2.94

 

Obviously the biggest keys to victory will be staying out of the box, as with one of the worst road penalty kills on the road, giving Ovechkin repeated attempts to fire his famous one-timer from the circle is like pouring kerosene on an open fire.

Key Matchup- Nick Bonino vs Mikail Grabovski

All eyes will be on the stars of Ovechkin, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, so this will be a perfect opportunity for the team’s secondary players to step up and have a big game. Kyle Palmieri has been the hero in the last two games, scoring the game winner in both games, so the big goal doesn’t always have to come from the big name.

Bonino has been enjoying a breakout season, already rolling through his previous career high of 18-points – scoring 25 on the season. He has become a mainstay on the team’s top power play unit and is also seeing over a minute a game on the penalty kill, showing his two-way game.

Grabovski has always been one of the more dynamic players in the game, but his time in Toronto with the Maple Leafs were filled with as much turmoil as highlights. Getting a second chance in Washington, he has flourished in being able to focus on what made him so dynamic in Toronto, his offense.

With 28-points in 34 games, Grabovski has been an excellent free agent find for the Capitals who needed a second line center after Mike Ribeiro left for the Phoenix Coyotes.

Mikail Grabovski

Category

Nick Bonino

10

Goals

10

18

Assists

15

+6

Plus/Minus

+2

2

PPG

2

15:58

TOI/G

15:57

0

Game Winning Goals

1

 

Goalie Matchup- Jonas Hiller vs Philipp Grubauer

Hiller

Grubauer

15-4-4

Record

4-0-1

2.43

GAA

2.05

.914

Save %

.940

2

Shutouts

0

 

Jonas Hiller gets the nod for the Ducks, as he looks to win his 16th game of the season. He has become the team’s workhorse of late, even with Frederik Andersen’s success. The pending free agent can pull into a tie for the ninth most wins in the league.

In the crease for the Capitals will be rookie goaltender Philipp Grubauer, who is up with the team while Michael Neuvirth recovers from an injury. Like so many rookie goalies this season, Grubauer has enjoyed instant success to his career, winning four of his first five decisions.

His play has even led some to believe he should be the starter in D.C.

A Special Homecoming

Two players will return to the place they first called home, as Mathieu Perreault began his NHL career with the Capitals and Bruce Boudreau became the fastest coach to reach 200-wins in his career (since been broken by Dan Bylsma of the Pittsburgh Penguins) in his time in Washington.

Boudreau of course was fired by Washington in favor of Dale Hunter, returning to the bench to coach the Ducks and Perreault was traded before the season started.

Anthony Murphy is the Editor at Pucks of a Feather. You can reach him by email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @AMurphyTFC.

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Tags: Anaheim Ducks Bruce Boudreau Game Preview

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