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Preview: Ducks Face League-Leading Capitals Tonight

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

The Ducks (29-17-10, 68 pts.) play the penultimate contest of a season-high six-game, 14-day road trip vs. the league-leading Washington Capitals (38-11-6, 82 pts.) tonight at Verizon Center (4:30 p.m. PT, Fox Sports West/AM 830). Anaheim has posted a 12-5-4 record since Christmas, ranking third among league leaders in standings points (28 pts.) and tied for third in wins. In addition, Anaheim (21) has allowed the fewest goals in the league since Christmas (shootout goals excluded). On the PK, the Ducks are 66-for-73 for a 90.4% that leads the league since December 25, 3.5% higher than the second-place Ottawa Senators (87.0%).

Anaheim has held opponents to two goals or less in 14 of the last 17 games (31 GA total, shootout goals excluded) and held teams without a power-play goal in 11 of the last 14 games. The current road trip, which will conclude Anaheim's regular-season games in the Eastern Time Zone, will wrap up on Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center (5 p.m. PT). Anaheim's next home game is slated for next Friday vs. Florida (7 p.m. PT), one of only three home games for the Ducks this month. The February 17 date will represent Anaheim's first game at Honda Center since January 31 vs. Colorado (W, 5-1).

Tonight's contest opens a two-game season series between the Ducks and Caps. The Ducks are 15-11-5 all-time against the Capitals along with a 9-5-2 mark in the nation's capital. Anaheim and Washington last met on April 10, 2016 at Verizon Center, a 2-0 win for the Ducks that clinched the 2015-16 Pacific Division on the final game of the regular season. That game served as a make-up date for a Jan. 22, 2016 contest that was postponed due to a snowstorm in the Washington, D.C. region. The Ducks have gone 6-2-2 in their last 10 games in Washington. Antoine Vermette has collected 17 points (7g/10a) in 29 games vs. the Capitals, tops among active Ducks skaters. These two clubs will reconvene at Honda Center on Sunday, March 12 (6:30 p.m. PT) to wrap up the season set.

The Ducks enter tonight's game two days removed from a 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center, their first victory on this current road trip. Corey Perry busted out of his grueling offensive slump with a game-high three points (2g/1a), while John Gibson earned his 21st victory of the season, tying his career high from 2015-16. It also marked the first time in club history that the Ducks put up 44 shots or more in consecutive games (also 44 on Tuesday against the New York Rangers).

Washington, meanwhile, is coming off a 6-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday to push its home winning streak to 11 games - the third longest run of its kind in franchise history. The Capitals won 13 straight home games in 2009-10 and posted a 12-game home winning streak last season. Furthermore, the Capitals scored five or more goals for the 10th consecutive home game on Thursday becoming the first NHL team to do so since the 1970-71 Boston Bruins (11 consecutive home games).

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