DUCKS (16-13-4) at CAPITALS (18-11-3)
TV: NHLN-US (HD), CSN-DC (HD), MSG (HD)
Anaheim 6-3-1; Washington 4-5-1
Season series --
This is the first of two meetings between the Capitals and Ducks this season. They will play again in Anaheim on Feb. 16. The Caps have won the last two meetings, including 5-1 last season.
Big Story --
Will the Capitals snap out of their funk before HBO's "24/7 Penguins-Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic" debuts? They're running out of time. Wednesday has to be the night. The show debuts at 10 p.m. ET, or just around the time the Capitals will either be talking about their first win in two weeks or their seventh straight loss. Anaheim doesn't have any stake in the HBO show so the Ducks will definitely be looking to extend their own winning streak to three games.
The Ducks have already played 33 games, the most in the NHL, but Wednesday's match at Verizon Center starts a stretch of five road games in seven nights before they get four days off. One has the feeling this could be a season-defining stretch. Anaheim's road trip takes them to Washington, Long Island, Carolina, Boston and Buffalo. They get a nice holiday break at home before playing in L.A. on Dec. 26 and Phoenix on Dec. 28. The Ducks don't have another home game until New Year's Eve. But it's this stretch of five games in five different cities over seven nights that could wind up making or breaking them.
We already know that watching Episode 1 of HBO's real-life documentary will not be easy. The Caps haven't won a game since the filming began last week. But they can make a statement heading into the filming of Episode 2 (airs Dec. 22 at 10 p.m. ET on HBO) with a win Wednesday night. The Capitals are coming off a 7-0 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden that for all intents and purposes was rock bottom for them. At least, that's what they're hoping. They took Monday off before going back to the practice ice Tuesday. The players felt getting a day off was important.
"It's OK to do some other things to get away from the game a little bit, but the bottom line is whatever you're going to be doing you're going to be thinking about it," Caps winger Mike Knuble
said. "You can't cut yourself off from it. It's still going to be in the back of your mind. But we can't let it go on any further, so you have to quit feeling sorry for yourself and quit feeling sorry for your team. The Anaheim Ducks
sure aren't going to feel sorry for you."
Who's Hot -- Corey Perry
is coming off a 5-point game. He had his first career hat trick as well as 2 assists in a 6-2 win over Minnesota on Sunday. Perry leads the Ducks with 35 points on 16 goals and 19 assists.
Injury Report --
Capitals defenseman Mike Green
, who has sat out the last two games with what is believed to be the flu, skated Tuesday. His status for Wednesday's game is still questionable. Capitals center Boyd Gordon is out 1-2 weeks with an undisclosed injury. Alexander Semin
and Marcus Johansson
sat out Tuesday's practice with flu-like symptoms. … Regarding the Ducks, Teemu Selanne is on the road trip but his status for Wednesday's game is in question. Selanne has sat out the last two games with a groin issue. Aaron Voros is out 3-4 weeks with a fractured orbital bone.
Stat Pack --
The Ducks top line of Perry, Ryan Getzlaf
and Bobby Ryan
accounted for 6 goals and 5 assists in Sunday's win over the Wild. … Anaheim on Tuesday extended coach Randy Carlyle's contract through the 2011-12 season. Carlyle is 235-152-56 in five-plus seasons as the Ducks' coach.
Puck Drop --
"I still believe out of the six games that we've just gone through we should have won three of them," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "One of the things is we aren't getting the production that we've normally gotten, or that we're used to or expect to get, offensively. When that happens, you press. When you get behind, you press. And usually that opens up spots and the other team takes advantage of it. That happened Sunday."