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Preview: Ducks Host League-Leading Capitals Tonight

Ducks will hold their 10th Anniversary Celebration of the club's Stanley Cup championship prior to the game

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

The Ducks (35-23-10, 80 points) begin a three-game homestand against the league-leading Washington Capitals (44-16-7, 95 points) tonight at Honda Center (6:30 p.m. PT, Prime Ticket/AM 830). Prior to the game, the Ducks will hold a 10-year celebration of the 2007 Stanley Cup in a pregame ceremony beginning at 4:30 p.m. (details below). With wins in two of the last three games (2-1-0) and three in the last five (3-2-0), the Ducks come into this evening's contest ranked fourth in PK% (85.0%), tied for eighth in fewest goals allowed (170) and seventh in goals against per game (2.50). The Ducks have 14 games remaining on their regular season schedule, featuring nine at home.

Tonight wraps up the two-game season series between the Ducks and Caps, which began with a thrilling matchup on February 11 at Verizon Center (6-4 Washington victory). The Ducks trailed 3-0 after the first period and 4-1 in the middle frame, but three unanswered goals brought them all the way back until a late goal from former Caps forward Zach Sanford with 2:39 remaining in regulation proved to be the game winner. [Sanford was traded to the St. Louis Blues, along with forward Brad Malone, the Capitals' first-round selection in the 2017 NHL Draft and conditional draft pick(s) for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and goaltender Pheonix Copley on February 27.]

Anaheim is 15-11-6 all-time against Washington along with a 6-6-3 mark in Orange County. Antoine Vermette, who is eligible to return from his 10-game suspension tonight, has collected 17 points (7g/10a) in 30 career games vs. the Capitals, tops among active Ducks skaters.

The Ducks are coming off a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center on Friday night that erased what would have been a successful Central Division back-to-back swing. Joel Edmundson's goal with 19 seconds remaining in regulation snapped Anaheim's two-game winning streak and prevented them from getting points in back-to-back games, which began the night before with a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. The loss, coupled with Calgary's ninth consecutive victory last night, pushed the Ducks into third place in the Pacific Division, tied in points with the second-place Flames.

Washington, meanwhile, has lost three consecutive games in regulation for the first time since February 2015. The Capitals have lost all three by 4-2 scores, most recently at the hands of the LA Kings last night at STAPLES Center. The streak began on March 6 against the Dallas Stars, who ended their 15-game home winning streak, and continued on Thursday in San Jose - the first of this current three-game California road trip. Braden Holtby figures to get the start tonight after backup Philipp Grubauer played last night against the Kings. 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). The 27-year-old netminder posted a 21-game point streak from December 29 to March 4 (19-0-2), marking the third-longest point streak in franchise history.

10-Year Celebration
The Ducks will hold their 10th Anniversary Celebration of the club's Stanley Cup championship tonight prior to their game against the Capitals. The celebration will mark the first time since winning the title that the players have reunited as a group. The featured pregame ceremony that begins at 4:30 p.m. will be preceded by two events for fans. At 2 p.m., season ticket holders are invited to a rally with the 2006-07 champions, and, at 2:30 p.m., players and coaches from the 2006-07 team will be available to all fans for photo opportunities and autographs (all events take place at Honda Center & the Stanley Cup will be on site). For all the details regarding this special event, click here.

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