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NHL Hockey

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Washington 1 1 0 2
Anaheim 0 2 3 5
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6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST6:00 UAE (+1)21:00 ETNaN:� BRT, February 17, 2019
Honda Center, Anaheim, California  Attendance: 17,495

Caps show signs of life heading to Anaheim

Washington Capitals at Anaheim Ducks

  1. After scoring his NHL-leading 39th goal in Thursday's 5-1 win in San Jose, Alex Ovechkin is one shy of the 10th 40-goal season of his career. The only players with 10 or more 40-goal seasons are Wayne Gretzky (12), Marcel Dionne (10) and Mario Lemieux (10).
  2. Ovechkin only has one goal in six games against the Ducks since the 2015-16 season. The only other team against which he doesn't have multiple goals in that span is Los Angeles. Anaheim has won the last two meetings but hasn't won three in a row in the series since December 1998 to October 1999.
  3. Washington has the league's third-best penalty kill since the All-Star break at 90.5 percent (19-for-21) after entering the break tied for 24th in the NHL (with Edmonton) at 77.3 percent.
  4. T.J. Oshie had two goals and an assist Thursday to reach 500 points for his career. Oshie has 20 points (7g, 13a) in his last 17 games after having just 16 points through his first 30 games of the season.

The Washington Capitals will head into a Sunday evening game at Anaheim apparently awake and alert following a thrashing of the San Jose Sharks, one of the top teams in the Western Conference.

Not even at the halfway point of a six-game road trip, the Capitals already have experienced a bevy of emotion, from the disappointment of Tuesday's 3-0 defeat at Columbus, to the hard-working reward of Thursday's 5-1 statement against the Sharks.

Consider the defeat to the Blue Jackets a wake-up call as the Capitals move into a back-to-back scenario against the Ducks on Sunday and the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night.

There was more for the defending champions to celebrate than just the victory over the Sharks, a team that entered with a six-game home winning streak and had just four losses on home ice all season.

T.J. Oshie reached the 500-point plateau for his career and goaltender Braden Holtby reached 20 wins for a franchise-best seventh consecutive season.

"It just seemed like from the drop of the puck, guys were excited to play," Oshie said, according to the Washington Post. "Guys were just happy and having fun, and if anyone knows anything about this team, we play our best when we're having fun."

A sense of fun seems to have been missing for some time as the Capitals are 8-8-4 since Jan. 1, but they suddenly seem to have a sense of urgency with seven weeks remaining in the regular season.

The Capitals' most-recent top form is not exactly what a floundering Ducks squad needs at this point of their journey. They are in the midst of a 22-27-9 season, and at 53 points, they were better than just three other NHL teams at the start of play Saturday

Two games under the guidance of new coach Bob Murray, the Ducks have scored just one goal, but they did earn a 1-0 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

The Ducks will enter the finale of a three-game homestand having lost 20 of their last 23 games, a drought that cost former head coach Randy Carlyle his job. Murray, who is also the team's vice president and general manager, is getting a closer look at his team in advance of the Feb. 25 trade deadline.

One game after a feisty and physical victory over the Canucks, as Murray made his bench debut, the Ducks had little to offer against Boston on Friday, falling behind less than six minutes into the game and never recovering in a 3-0 defeat.

The Ducks have scored just 2.16 goals per game, last in the NHL, with the next closest team at 2.40 per game.

"It's unfortunate we're not scoring goals," Ducks defenseman Josh Manson said. "You need to score goals in this league to win games. You can't expect to shut teams out every night. It's unfortunate, but we know we have to score. It doesn't change anything for us."

With goaltender John Gibson day-to-day with multiple nagging injuries, the Ducks have used Kevin Boyle in goal the past two games -- the first two starts of his NHL career. Boyle has been a bright spot with a shutout and two goals allowed Friday (one Bruins goal was an empty-net).

As Gibson makes progress toward a return, the Ducks also have goaltender Chad Johnson (head), right wing Patrick Eaves (illness) and right wing Kevin Roy (upper body) on day-to-day status.

--Field Level Media

Updated February 16, 2019

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