Fowl Play on a Friday: Washington Capitals vs Anaheim Ducks

Washington Capitals (21-4-5) Anaheim Ducks (12-12-4)

 Predicted GoaltenderRecordGAA / SV% / # SO
Washington CapitalsBraden Holtby14-2-42.82 / .909 / 0
Anaheim DucksRyan Miller4-1-22.99 / .906 / 0

The Washington Capitals will round out their California Road Trip with a battle in Anaheim against the ‘Mighty’ Ducks. The last time these two met, back on November 18th, Brendan Leipsic established himself as “a little ball of hate”, Erik Gudbranson sucker-punched Garnet Hathaway, and a three-game suspension was dished out for spitting. Mostly importantly, however, the Capitals defeated Anaheim 5-2. The Capitals have won just twice in their last six meetings with the Ducks, but we’ve got a hunch that Washington won’t let this one slip away (mcubed).

On Wednesday, the Washington Capitals defeated the LA Kings, 3-1. The Caps’ penalty kill was vital to this road victory, as the Kings received three power plays in the second period alone. Radko Gudas, who had suffered an elbow to the head on Tuesday, dressed for the game, but Nicklas Backstrom still has not returned to the lineup. Just four minutes and 36 seconds into the first period, John Carlson scored his 10th goal of the season and 100th of his career, with a rocket past Jonathan Quick. Impressively, Washington has struck first, before the five-minute mark, nine separate times this season.

Ilya Samsonov, who hasn’t had much time between the pipes lately, stayed calm and composed despite only facing just a handful of shots in the first period. At the 13:27 mark, John Carlson scored his 2nd of the game, and third in two games, giving Washington a 2-0 lead. A sneaky move from behind the goal line drew Quick out of the crease, giving Carlson the perfect chance to pot the puck.

The Capitals have played the catch-up game fairly often as of late, so it was certainly refreshing to start off ahead. After having not been called for a penalty in almost four periods, Michal Kempny was called for ‘closing the hand on the puck’ with 39 seconds remaining in the first. With the penalty, the LA Kings would receive the first power play of the game, and would start the second period with the man-advantage. The Capitals would kill off that penalty, keeping the Kings off the board. The majority of the second period was uneventful, despite a number of great looks by the Caps, and more than a handful of equally great saves by Samsonov. Evgeny Kuznetsov would be called for high-sticking just short of the 11-minute mark, and the Kings would, again, try to cut the Capitals’ lead. Thankfully, Washington would kill off that penalty, as well. With just over 60 seconds remaining in the period, the Kings would receive their third power play, as TJ Oshie went off for slashing. The Capitals had a short-handed odd man rush prior to the expiration of the period but couldn’t finish. Once again, LA would start the subsequent period up a man. To start the third period, the Capitals killed off the remainder of the Oshie penalty. Unfortunately, Samsonov’s shut-out hopes were ruined by Blake Lizotte, as he scored his 3rd of the season, cutting the Caps’ lead in half. The Capitals would receive their first power play of the night with just over 12 minutes left in the match. Unfortunately, Washington would not convert, and would not add to their narrowed lead. The Capitals would get a second opportunity with the man-advantage, as Tyler Toffoli went off for two-minutes for an illegal check to the head. Much to the dismay of Caps’ fans, Washington would not convert. Kings’ head coach Todd McLellan would elect to pull his goalie with just about two minutes remaining, and despite some close calls, Tom Wilson would, in a clearing attempt, score an empty-net goal.

The Capitals’ third goal would be Wilson’s 11th on the season. Ilya Samsonov allowed just one goal on 23 shots, ending the night with a .957 save percentage, and improving his record to 7-2-1. Braden Holtby is expected to start against the Ducks.

The Anaheim Ducks were last in action on Monday, where they too defeated the LA Kings in a 4-2 victory. Since the last time the Caps and Ducks squared off, Anaheim has lost four of six, but has improved to 8-5-2 at home. Derek Grant struck first just beyond the five-minute mark of the first period. Anaheim received the first power play of the game as Tyler Toffoli went off for slashing. Jakob Silfverberg scored his 10th goal of the season on the Ducks power play, giving them a 2-0 lead heading into the second period. The Ducks’ power play has improved slightly, still ranking 30 of 31, but has shifted to an efficiency of 11.3% (vs 9.1%) (TheScore, Anaheim Ducks). Six minutes into the middle frame, Kurtis MacDermid cut the Ducks’ lead in half with his 2nd of the season, but just 56 seconds later, Carter Rowney would give Anaheim their two-goal lead back. At the 7:53 mark, Hampus Lindholm was called for interference, but Los Angeles would not convert. Before the Lindholm penalty expired, Erik Gudbranson would be called for delay of game, giving the Kings a short-lived two-man advantage. The Kings would not score on the power play, but Nikolai Prokhorkin would again bring LA within one at the 11:42 mark of the second. Anaheim’s penalty kill is ranked 22nd, as they manage to kill off 77.2% of penalties taken. However, they  also draw the 2nd most penalties, with an average of 11.4 penalty minutes per game (TheScore, Anaheim Ducks). The third period was uneventful, aside from Derek Grant’s 2nd goal of the game, which sealed the Ducks’ 12th win of the season. Anaheim goal-tender Ryan Miller made 34 saves on 36 shots, and tallied just his 4th win. Miller will get the start between the pipes tonight for the Ducks.

The Anaheim Ducks will be without the services of Patrick Eaves (IR-NR, undisclosed), Ryan Kesler (IR-NR, hip), and Josh Manson (DL, knee). John Gibson is still listed as day-to-day with an illness. Nicklas Backstrom’s status to return is undetermined.

Coverage of the game begins at 9:00pm with Caps Faceoff Live, followed by Caps Pregame Live at 9:30pm, all on NBCSN/NBCSWA, with puck drop shortly after 10:00pm.

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Mcubed. (2019). NHL: Series records: Washington Capitals against Anaheim Ducks. Retrieved from

TheScore. (2019). Anaheim Ducks News & Stats. Retrieved from

TheScore. (2019). Los Angeles Kings at Anaheim Ducks. Retrieved from

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