CAPITALS IN TOWN:
Tonight marks the second and final meeting with the Capitals this season and Washington’s lone visit to STAPLES Center. The Capitals are playing the third of a four-game road trip where they’ve gone 2-0-0 thus far; they’re coming off of a 2-1 SO win over the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night. The Kings are playing the fourth of a five-game home stand; they’re coming off of a 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks Monday night.
LINEUP: The Kings held a morning skate at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo in anticipation of tonight’s game. Andy Andreoff and Jamie McBain remained on the ice for extra work and are the presumed healthy scratches. Jonathan Quick was the first goalie to leave the ice and will start in net.
LUCIC – KOPITAR – CARTER
PEARSON – LECAVALIER – TOFFOLI
KING – LEWIS – BROWN
CLIFFORD – SHORE – VERSTEEG
SCUDERI – DOUGHTY
MUZZIN – MARTINEZ
MCNABB – SCHENN
THE LAST TIME AROUND: In their first meeting with the Capitals this season on February 16 at Washington’s Verizon Center, the Kings fell 3-1. Anze Kopitar opened the scoring with a SHG late in the first period. Former King Justin Williams assisted on the Capitals’ game-winner with 2:02 left to play in regulation, Jason Chimera added an empty-netter with nine seconds remaining. Jonathan Quick stopped 29 of 31 shots faced, Philipp Grubauer 39 of 40.
TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN: The Capitals come into the night as the NHL’s best team, and by a long-shot, their 102 points a shocking 14 ahead of the second-place Dallas Stars’ 88. Washington is first in the league in goals per game (3.18), third in goals-against per game (2.27) and power play percentage (23.3%), and fourth in penalty-kill percentage (84.8%).
RETURNING TO LA: Justin Williams and Mike Richards will return to STAPLES Center for the first time since the final game of the 2014-’15 season, when they last wore Kings jerseys before moving on to Washington. Williams signed a two-year contract with the Capitals over the summer and has put up 45 points (19G, 26A) in 66 games. Richards signed a one-year deal in January and has registered two points (1G, 1A) in 23 games.
KNOWING WASHINGTON: Defenseman Rob Scuderi, is quite familiar with the Capitals having played in the Metropolitan Division with Pittsburgh for the past one-and-a-half seasons. “They’ve been a dynamic team this year, they seem a more complete team now,” Scuderi said of Washington Wednesday morning. “Instead of getting some big time goals like they have from some of their stars, they’re just a more well-rounded, grittier team, and I think that’s made them much harder to compete against.”
STRUGGLES AT STAPLES: The Capitals have not won a game in Los Angeles since December 14, 2005, Alexander Ovechkln’s first-career game at STAPLES Center. Since then, the Kings are 5-0-0 against the Capitals on home ice, holding Ovechkin to just four points (1G, 3A) during their visits – he scored his first goal at STAPLES Center last season on February 14, 2015 in the Kings’ 3-1 victory.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch the ‘Kings Live pregame show at 7:00 PM PST on Fox Sports West, followed with Nick Nickson and Jim Fox on the live play-by-play call from STAPLES Center for puck drop just after 7:30. As always, you can listen to Jon Rosen and Daryl Evans call the action over the radio airwaves on AM 790 KABC.