CAPITALS (32-27-10) at DUCKS (45-16-7)
TV: CSN-DC, PRIME
Last 10: Washington 5-4-1; Anaheim 5-3-2
Season series: Anaheim and Washington conclude a two-game season series Tuesday at Honda Center. The Ducks earned a 3-2 win in their initial meeting on December 23 at Verizon Center as Hampus Lindholm (1g/1a), Andrew Cogliano (1g/1a) and Saku Koivu (1g/1a) each recorded multi-point games. The win was Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau’s first game vs. his former team. With the Capitals, Boudreau won the 2007-08 Jack Adams award and led his club to the 2009-10 Presidents’ Trophy. He compiled a 201-88-40 record (.672) and won the Southeast Division four times. All-time, Anaheim owns a 14-9-3 record vs. Washington. Teemu Selanne leads the team with 39 career points (21g/18a) in 24 games against the Capitals.
Big story: The Pacific Division-leading Anaheim Ducks (45-16-7, 97 points) host the Washington Capitals in a brief one-game homestand Tuesday at Honda Center (7 p.m. PDT, PRIME TICKET/AM 830). With points in seven of the last nine games (5-2-2, 12 pts.), Anaheim is riding its best start to a season through 68 games, improving upon its previous mark of 40-17-11 for 91 points in 2006-07. Anaheim also has the best home (24-6-4) and road (21-10-3) records, and scored the most goals (216) at this stage of the season in club history. The Ducks currently rank second in the NHL in goals scored - behind only Chicago - and tied for third in goals-per-game average (3.18) this season. The team has gone 17-8-2 in the last 27 games and 27-9-2 in the last 38, including a 14-6-2 mark at Honda Center and 12-3-0 road record. Following Tuesday's game, the Ducks travel to San Jose to take on the Sharks on Thursday at SAP Center. Anaheim's next home game is Sunday vs. Florida.
Ducks: After going winless in four consecutive games, Anaheim scored two straight road victories against Western Conference rivals. The Ducks exploded for six goals in the second period in a win Friday against the Colorado Avalanche, then grinded out a 2-1 victory over the Kings on a 37-save performance from Frederik Andersen on Saturday.
"It was huge to get the Calgary game behind us, and get back to the way we've been playing," said Andersen after the game, referring to a 7-2 defeat to the Flames last Wednesday. "[We're] getting back to basics. It's huge to win the week. We can't get those two points back, but we're happy about our week."
The Ducks will be careful not to overlook the Capitals in favor of division rival San Jose, whom Anaheim faces on Thursday. The Ducks and Sharks are tied on points (97) and Anaheim has one game in hand.
Capitals: Late last week, it looked like Washington's playoff hopes were out the window. The Capitals had lost five of their past six and had dropped to the 11th in the Eastern Conference. Washington rebounded this weekend for two straight wins, against the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs, to climb back into the hunt.
Dustin Penner scored his first point in seven games as a Capital with a great backhand pass to Joel Ward. Oates hopes the former Duck and King can "find a spark" on the West Coast, especially since the team will be without forward Brooks Laich (groin).
"We'll have to count on him more," Oates said. "He made a great play on the goal, and going out west, he's played for two of those teams, won Cups with two of those teams [Ducks in 2007, Kings in 2012], so hopefully he'll get a little spark."
Who's hot: Ducks forward Kyle Palmieri has three points (2g/1a) over his past two games. ... New Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov recorded four assists over the weekend, his first points as a Capital.
Injury report: Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler (lower body) is day-to-day. ... In addition to Laich (groin), who will not travel with the Capitals, center Mikhail Grabovski (lower body), defenseman John Erskine (upper body) and winger Aaron Volpatti (upper body) are all day-to-day.
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