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Capitals hope to rebound at L.A.

by Davis Harper
CAPITALS (21-16-2) at KINGS (20-15-7)


Last 10: Washington 6-3-1; Los Angeles 6-1-3.

Season Series: This is the only meeting of the season. The Kings won the only meeting last season, a 4-1 away defeat on Feb. 12, 2011, and have four straight wins and seven of nine overall in the series.

Big Story: Two teams hitting their stride under new coaches will look to rebound after suffering setbacks in their most recent outing. Under Darryl Sutter, the Kings earned at least a point in nine straight games until they were shut out at home by Columbus in a 1-0 loss Saturday. Washington had won four straight in regulation before they lost the first of this two-game California road trip to San Jose, 5-2, on Saturday.
Team Scope:

Capitals: The "Alex Ovechkin Show" came to a screeching halt Saturday in San Jose, where he was held pointless for the first time in seven games. Ovi scored at least two points in each game of the Caps' four-game streak, making it clearer than ever that the Washington offense – and therefore its playoff chances – ride on the Russian's shoulders. In what was a physical affair, Ovechkin also picked up a critical penalty late that gave San Jose the advantage they needed to take a two-goal lead and put the game to bed.

"We had a couple of breakdowns, and against a team like that, they make you pay," said defenseman Dennis Wideman.

Kings: With six goals in their past five games, the Kings wish they could pin their offensive hopes on someone like Ovechkin, even with his mercurial stat line this season. Los Angeles was shut out for the fifth time this season against lowly Columbus, and it wasn't as though the Blue Jackets played a perfect game. In fact, Columbus conceded eight power-play opportunities, a season-high for Los Angeles, but still the Kings failed to convert. Their conversion rate slipped to 13.2 percent (28th in the League) and they are now dead last in goals-per-game (2.02) and goals scored (85).

"We're pressing. You could tell later on in the game that we're pressing," center Jarret Stoll said. "They were blocking everything. Probably three-quarters of our shots didn't even make it to the net, but you've got to find different ways."

Who's Hot: Wideman has 3 goals and 3 assists in his last three games.

Injury Report: Kings blueliner Slava Voynov (upper body) and winger Dustin Penner (back) are questionable for Monday's game. Simon Gagne (concussion) and Scott Parse (hip surgery) are both on injured reserve. … Caps center Nicklas Backstrom (head) and defenseman Mike Green (undisclosed) are questionable for Monday's game. Tom Poti (groin) is on the IR.
Stat Pack: With all of the Kings' offensive struggles, it's a wonder they still sit ninth in the Western Conference standings. Much of that credit goes to goalie Jonathan Quick, who ranks in the top 6 of the League in wins (18), saves (942), save percentage (.934), goals-against average (1.93) and leads the League in shutouts (6). Since Sutter took over, Quick is 5-1-2 with two shutouts, a 1.10 GAA and a .958 save percentage.

Puck Drop: "We don't talk about him enough. He has given us chances every single game and that's all you could ask for from your goaltender. If he gives up one, we should be able to score more than one goal and win the game - especially at home." – Kings alternate captain Anze Kopitar on Jonathan Quick, who made 17 saves Saturday against Columbus

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