The two-time reigning Presidents’ Trophy winners appear to have shaken off their early-season malaise and are making a move toward reclaiming their customary spot at the top of the Metropolitan Division. The surging Washington Capitals will go for their 10th victory in the last 12 games when they host the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night.
Washington continued its hot stretch with a 5-3 win at Boston on Thursday night, improving to 6-1-0 in December and scoring at least four goals in each of the victories. The Capitals had dropped four of its previous five on the road and goaltender Braden Holtby said winning on the road was “good for the confidence.” That could also be the mantra for Anaheim, which opened a six-game road trip with an impressive 3-1 victory at St. Louis that dropped the Blues out of the top spot in the Western Conference. The Ducks, who have won five consecutive Pacific Division titles, are riding a six-game point streak (3-0-3).
TV: 8 p.m. ET, KCOP-13 (Anaheim), NBC Sports-Washington
ABOUT THE DUCKS (14-11-7): Anaheim gave forward Kevin Roy something to chew on when he was demoted to its minor league affiliate in San Diego on Monday, but the rookie didn’t even make it through dinner when he was summoned back following an injury to Corey Perry. Roy made the most of his opportunity, scoring twice against St. Louis to give him six goals in 16 games. “He’s got a nice touch at the net,” teammate Andrew Cogliano said about Roy. “He’s a heady player, he’s scoring and we need that.”
ABOUT THE CAPITALS (20-12-1): Forward Alex Chiasson, who plays on the fourth line, also picked an opportune time to make an impression, scoring twice at Boston after collecting only one point (a goal) in his previous nine games. With top-line forward T.J. Oshie moving closer to returning from an injury that has sidelined him for the past five games, Chiasson could be one of the players squeezed out of playing time. “Chaser is a veteran guy,” coach Barry Trotz said. “He can count, and he knows what’s going on.”
1. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored his 16th goal at even strength Thursday, matching his total from last season.
2. Anaheim has killed off all 16 penalties over its past five games.
3. Oshie was back at practice Friday wearing a non-contact jersey.
PREDICTION: Capitals 4, Ducks 2