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Kings at Capitals preview

Doughty returns for Los Angeles; Washington's Ovechkin five goals from 700 in NHL

by Harvey Valentine / Independent Correspondent

KINGS (19-29-5) at CAPITALS (35-13-5)



The Game

Alex Ovechkin will continue his push to become the eighth player in NHL history to score 700 goals when the Washington Capitals host the Los Angeles Kings at Capital One Arena on Tuesday.

Ovechkin was scoreless in a 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday, two days after he passed Mark Messier for eighth on the NHL's all-time list by scoring the 694th and 695th goals of his career in a 5-3 win against the Ottawa Senators.

Washington is 5-2-0 in past its past seven games and 8-4-0 in its past 12.

Drew Doughty is expected to return after missing three games with an undisclosed injury for the Kings, who are 1-5-1 in their past seven games and play the opener of a four-game road trip. The defenseman missed the last two games before the Kings' League-mandated five-day break and the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend, and he did not dress for a 3-1 home loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday. Doughty needs one point to pass Rob Blake (494) for most points by a defenseman in Kings history.


Players to watch

Kings center Anze Kopitar has seven points (one goal, six points) in his past five games.

Capitals forward Jakub Vrana has 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in his past 12 games.


They said it

"When you lose a Norris Trophy winner from your lineup it's a big hole. … We're fortunate to have him back tonight. Hopefully he's not too, too rusty. It's been awhile since he played, and we'll have to watch his minutes, but we've got to get him up and running again." -- Kings coach Todd McLellan on Doughty

"I don't think so because I don't think our team was really pleased about the result against Pittsburgh. So they now realize that there's some work to be done. Some of those areas can be pointed to and we can be better. Despite where we are in the standings, we are not done getting better and need to get better if we want to be where we want to be at the end of the year." - Capitals coach Todd Reirden on the possibility of a letdown after playing the Penguins


Kings projected lineup

Alex Iafallo -- Anze Kopitar -- Dustin Brown

Adrian Kempe -- Blake Lizotte -- Austin Wagner

Carl Grundstrom -- Jeff Carter -- Tyler Toffoli

Kyle Clifford -- Michael Amadio -- Trevor Lewis

Alec Martinez -- Drew Doughty

Ben Hutton -- Matt Roy

Kurtis MacDermid -- Sean Walker

Jonathan Quick

Jack Campbell

Scratched: Joakim Ryan, Nikolai Prokhorkin, Derek Forbort

Injured: None


Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- Tom Wilson

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

Carl Hagelin -- Lars Eller -- Richard Panik

Brendan Leipsic -- Nic Dowd -- Garnet Hathaway

Michal Kempny -- John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov -- Nick Jensen

Martin Fehervary -- Radko Gudas

Braden Holtby

Vitek Vanecek

Scratched: Travis Boyd, Jonas Siegenthaler

Injured: Ilya Samsonov (upper body)


Status report

Grundstrom was recalled from Ontario of the American Hockey League on Monday. … Samsonov left the morning skate as a precaution after being struck in the mask by a shot from Ovechkin. Vanecek was recalled from Hershey of the AHL and will back up Holtby, who was already scheduled to start. … Fehervary was recalled from Hershey.


Stat pack

The Kings are 11-for-25 on the power play (44.0 percent), since Dec. 31. That's first in the NHL. … Ovechkin has 11 goals in his past six games.

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