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Kings at Capitals preview

Los Angeles has won two straight after 1-6-1 stretch; Washington aims for fourth consecutive victory

by Brian McNally / Correspondent

KINGS (14-8-3) at CAPITALS (14-10-1)


The Game 

The Washington Capitals will go for their fourth consecutive win when they host the Los Angeles Kings at Capital One Arena on Thursday.  
The Capitals have won seven of their past eight games (7-1-0) at home.

Washington forwards Alex Ovechkin (five goals) and Nicklas Backstrom (four assists) have combined for nine points in three games since being reunited on the same line.

The Kings have won two straight games after a 1-6-1 stretch. They began a four-game road trip with a 4-1 victory against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday and play the first of a back-to-back set.

Kings center Anze Kopitar has 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) in his past 16 games. Defenseman Drew Doughty is tied for second in the NHL in average time on ice (26:58) behind Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter (27:03).


Players to watch

Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (11-8-1, 2.28 goals-against average, .929 save percentage) is 7-2-0 against Washington.


Capitals goalie Braden Holtby (13-5-0, 2.59 GAA, .921 save percentage) has held opponents to two goals or fewer in eight of his past 11 starts (9-2-0, 2.41 GAA, .926 save percentage).


They said it

"The one thing with Washington that's maybe overlooked is that they have a lot of skill, but they play a real physical brand of hockey. Their forecheck is aggressive but physical and the forecheck is something they look to establish a lot of offense from." -- Kings coach John Stevens


"L.A. has gotten quicker, I think LA's [defensemen] are very active in the play. There's subtle changes, but their DNA is they've always been a very good defensive club." -- Capitals coach Barry Trotz


Kings projected lineup

Alex Iafallo -- Anze Kopitar -- Dustin Brown

Tanner Pearson -- Nick Shore -- Tyler Toffoli

Marian Gaborik -- Adrian Kempe -- Trevor Lewis

Jussi Jokinen -- Nic Dowd -- Jonny Brodzinski

Jake Muzzin -- Drew Doughty

Derek Forbort -- Christian Folin

Kurtis MacDermid -- Alec Martinez

Jonathan Quick

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Oscar Fantenberg, Torrey Mitchell

Injured: Jeff Carter (lower body), Kyle Clifford (upper body), Andy Andreoff (upper body)


Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- Tom Wilson

Jakub Vrana -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- T.J. Oshie

Tyler Graovac -- Lars Eller -- Devante Smith-Pelly

Chandler Stephenson -- Jay Beagle -- Alex Chiasson

Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik -- John Carlson

Christian Djoos -- Madison Bowey

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

Scratched: Brett Connolly, Taylor Chorney

Injured: Andre Burakovsky (fractured left thumb)


Status report

Capitals forward Nathan Walker was placed on waivers and will be assigned to Hershey of the American Hockey League if he clears at noon Friday. … Djoos returns to the lineup for the first time since Nov. 14 (six games). … MacDermid replaces Fantenberg. … Mitchell, acquired in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens on Nov. 23 for a conditional fifth-round draft pick, continues to deal with unresolved visa issues and will not play.


Stat pack

The Kings have successfully killed 17 of their past 19 penalties. … The Capitals can tie their record for home wins in November (eight).

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