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Sharks at Capitals preview

San Jose is 3-1-1 in past five; Kuznetsov game-time decision for Washington

by Harvey Valentine / Independent Correspondent

SHARKS (19-21-3) at CAPITALS (28-9-5)



The Game

Evgeny Kuznetsov will be a game-time decision for the Washington Capitals when they host the San Jose Sharks at Capital One Arena on Sunday.

Kuznetsov, who had a goal and an assist in a 4-3 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday, did not practice Saturday because of an illness. Washington has lost three of its past five games after winning four of its previous five.

San Jose, which ended the Columbus Blue Jackets' 12-game point streak with a 3-2 victory on Saturday, is 3-1-1 in its past five games after going 1-8-1 in its previous 10. 


Players to watch 

Sharks forward Joe Thornton has five points (one goal, four assists) in his past five games.

Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin has five points (two goals, three assists) in a five-game point streak and needs two goals to tie Teemu Selanne (684) for 11th place in NHL history. 


They said it

"I just the like way we're playing as a 20-man unit. We're all on the same page and we're doing some good things. We're managing our game. It's a little bit of a more mature game lately and we're giving ourselves a chance to win every night, which is the most important thing." -- Sharks coach Bob Boughner

"It'll be a real important thing or us to play with speed and some edge to our game, a heavy game that involves some physical contact. We've got to make sure we're getting in on this defense and forcing them to go 200 feet to get offense. We can't allow [Erik] Karlsson and [Brent] Burns to be joining every rush and not ever touch them. They're a major part of their team, and the forecheck will be key for us on Sunday." -- Capitals coach Todd Reirden


Sharks projected lineup

Tomas Hertl -- Logan Couture -- Patrick Marleau

Evander Kane -- Barclay Goodrow -- Timo Meier

Marcus Sorensen -- Joe Thornton -- Kevin Labanc

Melker Karlsson -- Joel Kellman -- Stefan Noesen

Brenden Dillon -- Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Erik Karlsson

Radim Simek -- Mario Ferraro

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Tim Heed, Joachim Blichfeld, Antti Suomela

Injured: Dalton Prout (upper body)


Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- Tom Wilson

Jakub Vrana -- Lars Eller -- T.J. Oshie

Carl Hagelin -- Travis Boyd -- Richard Panik

Brendan Leipsic -- Nic Dowd -- Garnet Hathaway

Jonas Siegenthaler -- John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov -- Nick Jensen

Michal Kempny -- Radko Gudas

Braden Holtby

Ilya Samsonov

Scratched: None 

Injured: Christian Djoos (upper body), Evgeny Kuznetsov (illness)


Stat pack

San Jose went 0-for-1 on the power play against Columbus and is 3-for-52 (5.8 percent) since Nov. 19 (22 games). … All 16 of Vrana's goals this season have come at even strength. … Backstrom has an assist in each of his past four games.

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