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Capitals at Kings preview

Ovechkin eyes 600th NHL goal for Washington; Lewis returns for Los Angeles

by Dan Greenspan / Correspondent

CAPITALS (37-22-7) at KINGS (36-25-5)

10:30 p.m. ET; SN, FS-W, NBCSWA, NHL.TV


The Game

Alex Ovechkin can become the 20th player in NHL history to score 600 goals when the Washington Capitals play the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Thursday.

The 32-year-old forward needs two goals to become the third NHL player in the past 10 years to reach the milestone, joining Colorado Avalanche forward Jarome Iginla (Jan. 4, 2016) and Anaheim Ducks forward Teemu Selanne (March 21, 2010). Ovechkin scored his League-leading 40th goal in a 5-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2018 NHL Stadium Series in Annapolis, Maryland, on Saturday, but was held off the scoresheet in Washington's 4-0 loss at Anaheim on Tuesday.

The Capitals begin the night one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

Forward Trevor Lewis will return for the Kings, who hold the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. Lewis has missed 12 games with an upper-body injury. Los Angeles has been off since a 5-3 home loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.


Players to watch

Ovechkin has 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in his past 12 games.

Kings forward Tanner Pearson has goals in back-to-back games.


They said it

"Obviously things haven't been going the way we wanted them to the last little bit here, personally. That's the way the business goes is when you earn playing time, earn games by succeeding and helping the team win. That's something I need to do better." -- Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, who's 1-5-2 in his past 11 starts and has been pulled in four of them

"I'm sure some guys say they don't try to focus on that or look at that, but curiosity takes over and you take a peek." -- Kings defenseman Derek Forbort on keeping track of the playoff race


Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- Tom Wilson

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

Brett Connolly -- Lars Eller -- Andre Burakovsky

Chandler Stephenson -- Jay Beagle -- Devante Smith-Pelly

Michal Kempny -- John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik -- Christian Djoos

Philipp Grubauer

Braden Holtby

Scratched: Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek, Alex Chiasson, Travis Boyd

Injured: None


Kings projected lineup

Alex Iafallo -- Anze Kopitar -- Dustin Brown

Tanner Pearson -- Jeff Carter -- Tyler Toffoli

Adrian Kempe -- Michael Amadio -- Trevor Lewis

Kyle Clifford -- Torrey Mitchell -- Nate Thompson

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Dion Phaneuf -- Alec Martinez

Jake Muzzin -- Christian Folin

Jonathan Quick

Jack Campbell

Scratched: Tobias Rieder, Andy Andreoff, Paul LaDue, Kevin Gravel

Injured: None


Status report

Grubauer will start. He relieved Holtby in the second period against the Ducks after Anaheim scored three goals on nine shots. … Phaneuf will play despite missing practice Wednesday because of the flu.


Stat pack

Backstrom will play his 800th NHL game. The Capitals have allowed a power-play goal in seven of their past 10 games, killing 26 of 34 chances (76.5 percent) in that span. … Kopitar has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his past five games.

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