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Williams, Richards return to Los Angeles for Capitals

Veteran forwards won Stanley Cup twice in L.A.

by Curtis Zupke / Correspondent

CAPITALS (49-13-4) at KINGS (39-22-4)

TV: 10:30 p.m. ET; CSN-DC, FS-W, NHL.TV

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - Washington Capitals forwards Justin Williams and Mike Richards will return to Staples Center for the first time since they left the Los Angeles Kings when the teams play Wednesday.

Williams and Richards were on the Kings' 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup championship teams, and Williams won the 2014 Conn Smythe Trophy. They are expected to be recognized in a video tribute, much like former King Jarret Stoll of the Minnesota Wild was when he returned earlier this season.

"It will probably be emotional for me, weird, all those things," Williams said earlier this week. "I'm happy I got one out of the way already against them in Washington [on Feb. 16]. But going back to that arena, obviously [I have] a lot of great memories. The greatest memories of my career are there. Obviously a special place. It always will be."

Williams has fit in seamlessly with the Capitals, who have played in 11 straight one-goal games. It's not a surprise to his former teammates.

"I think he's going to find a spot anywhere," Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi said at the Kings' practice facility. "He's always been a big-game player, and a guy who's been consistent throughout his career. So I don't think it's a shock to me that he's doing well in Washington."

Richards played 14:58 minutes against the Anaheim Ducks on Monday, his second-most this season. He signed with Washington on Jan. 6.

Scuderi is familiar with the Eastern Conference and said the Capitals are as formidable as their record suggests.

"They seem a more complete team, now," Scuderi said. "They're just a more well-grounded, grittier team, and I think that's made them much harder to compete against."

Here are the projected lineups:


Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie

Andre Burakovsky - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams

Jason Chimera - Marcus Johansson - Tom Wilson

Daniel Winnik - Mike Richards - Jay Beagle

Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik - Dmitry Orlov

Mike Weber - Taylor Chorney

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

Injured: None

Scratched: Nate Schmidt, Michael Latta, Stanislav Galiev


Milan Lucic - Anze Kopitar - Jeff Carter

Tanner Pearson - Vincent Lecavalier - Tyler Toffoli

Dwight King - Trevor Lewis - Dustin Brown

Kyle Clifford - Nick Shore - Kris Versteeg

Rob Scuderi - Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin - Alec Martinez

Brayden McNabb - Luke Schenn

Jonathan Quick

Jhonas Enroth

Injured: Marian Gaborik (knee), Matt Greene (shoulder), Jordan Nolan (undisclosed)

Scratched: Jamie McBain, Andy Andreoff

Status report: Holtby is expected to start for Washington. … Chorney will play, according to the Washington Post. … Carter was on the top line, as he was Monday against the Vancouver Canucks. … Quick was off the ice first.

Who's hot: Niskanen has two goals in his past four games. … Burakovsky has a goal and an assist in his past two games. … Kopitar has a four-game point streak. 

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