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Preview: Capitals at Kings

Washington looks to avoid third straight loss; Jonathan Quick likely in goal for Los Angeles

by Forrest Lee / NHL.com Correspondent

CAPITALS (44-15-7) at KINGS (32-28-6)

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

 

Capitals team scope

The Washington Capitals have lost two in a row and are 5-4-1 since returning from a six-day break. They haven't lost three straight in regulation since Feb. 22-27, 2015. The Capitals, who are coming off a 4-2 loss against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Thursday, are three points ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins for first place in the Metropolitan Division entering Saturday. Coach Barry Trotz is expected change his top two lines. Marcus Johansson skated at practice Friday with Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie on the top line. Alex Ovechkin skated with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson. Ovechkin has one point in the past seven games and hasn't scored an even-strength goal in an NHL career-high 16 games. "He's skating probably as well as he has all year," Trotz told the Washington Post. "I like his work ethic. If he just keeps adding that little bit of physical element and keeps shooting the puck, he's going to score some goals. I'm pretty sure about that. I'll bet anybody that he will." Braden Holtby (34-10-5), who leads the NHL in goals-against average (1.97) and shutouts (eight) entering Saturday, is expected to start. The Capitals are 0-4-2 in their past six games at Los Angeles. Washington, which will play the second of three games on its California trip, is 14-5-0 against Western Conference opponents.

 

Kings team scope

Jonathan Quick, who had 21 saves in a 3-2 win against the Nashville Predators on Thursday, is expected to start in goal for the Los Angeles Kings. Quick is 3-0-1 in four starts since returning from a groin injury that forced him to miss 59 games. He is 6-2-0 with a 2.44 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in eight career games against the Capitals. "First off, they have one of the best goalies in the League, and they have one of the most experienced teams in the League, and it's not like they've all of a sudden come upon that," coach Darryl Sutter said of the Capitals after the morning skate Saturday. "If you have the opportunity to watch Washington play, they've been a dominant team for a number of years now." The Kings are three points behind the St. Louis Blues for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. "They're a really good team so we have to come out heavy and play fast and keep them away from our net," Kempe said. "I think we have to play heavy around their net and get a lot of shots through."

 

Capitals projected lineup

Marcus Johansson -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie

Alex Ovechkin -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Tom Wilson

Brett Connolly -- Lars Eller -- Justin Williams

Daniel Winnik -- Jay Beagle -- Jakub Vrana

Karl Alzner -- John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

Scratched: Nate Schmidt, Taylor Chorney

Injured: Andre Burakovsky (hand)

 

Kings projected lineup

Marian Gaborik -- Anze Kopitar -- Jarome Iginla

Tanner Pearson -- Jeff Carter -- Tyler Toffoli

Trevor Lewis -- Adrian Kempe -- Dustin Brown

Andy Andreoff -- Nic Dowd -- Kyle Clifford

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin -- Paul LaDue

Kevin Gravel -- Alec Martinez

Jonathan Quick

Ben Bishop

Scratched: Brayden McNabb

Injured: Jordan Nolan (undisclosed), Nick Shore (upper body)

 

Status report

Nolan and Shore did not participate in the morning skate, and each is day to day.

 
Who's hot

Backstrom has 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in his past 17 games. ... Shattenkirk has an assist in three straight games and tied his NHL career high with his 45th point Thursday. … Doughty has an assist in three straight games.

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