The Anaheim Ducks host the Washington Capitals tonight at the Honda Center before going back on the road. Whenever the Capitals come to town, the storyline of Bruce Boudreau coaching against his former team is always worth noting. However, the big story tonight will be Dustin Penner making his return to Anaheim for the first time since being traded. This will be the last time Penner skates on the Honda Center ice during the regular season this year. Game starts at 7 p.m.
Season Series: 1-0
Last Match Up: 3-2 (Dec. 23, 2013)
The last time these two teams met was back on Dec. 23 in Washington D.C. at the Verizon Center. The Capitals jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with goals from Mikhail Grabovski and Nicklas Backstrom in the first period. Andrew Cogliano would score one before the period ended. The Ducks shut down the Capitals the rest of the game. With goals by Saku Koivu and Hampus Lindholm, the Ducks were able to rally and hold on for the win.
Keys to the Game:
1. The Ducks still have issues on the power play. Teemu Selanne will be on the top line so hopefully that changes tonight.
2. The Ducks need to keep Alex Ovechkin in check especially on the power play. He leads the league with 19 power plays goals.
1. The Capitals will need to slow down the Ducks first line in order to stay in the game.
2. The Capitals have seven different players with 10 or more goals. They need to maintain a balanced attack and cycle the puck for success against the Ducks.
Players to Watch:
1. Corey Perry has been on fire lately and should reach 40 goals soon.
2. Teemu Selanne will be on the top line for 5-on-5 play and the power play. Look for Selanne to get some points this game.
1. Dustin Penner has only recorded one assist since being traded to the Capitals. It will be interesting to how he plays against his former team.
2. Alex Ovechkin leads the league with 45 goals and should reach 50 easily. He is dangerous whenever he is on the ice in any situation.
Jonas Hiller: 27-10-6 2.38 GAA .914 SV%
Jaroslav Halak: 27-11-4 GAA 2.25 .918 SV%
The Capitals currently sit in 9th place in the Eastern Conference. They are only two points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers for the final playoff spot. The Capitals are also only three points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for sixth place. It’s going to come down to the final week or day of the regular season to decide who the bottom three seeds will be in the Eastern Conference. In addition to making the playoffs, Washington has some extra motivation in this game with Penner playing his old team.
45-16-7, 97 points (Last 10: 5-3-2)
32-27-10, 74 Points (Last 10: 5-4-1)
This should be an emotional game for the Ducks. The team always wants to win for their coach especially when playing his former team. There is added incentive as Penner will be lining up on the other side of the ice in a Capitals jersey.
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