The Washington Capitals are looking to end their Pacific Division road trip on a high note on Saturday as they meet the San Jose Sharks. After starting off sluggish last game, the Caps roared back in the third with three unanswered goals and got a point in their 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Kings.
The Sharks have been hanging in there to keep their heads above water and in the playoff hunt. Currently, they sit as the seventh seed in the conference, third in the crowded Pacific behind the Kings (84 points) and Ducks (83 points). With 15 games remaining and a possible 30 points on the table, the Sharks are capable of rising up with some help from the other teams in the west.
The Caps have won two of three on the road trip, only dropping their last game to the Kings 4-3 in overtime. Holtby struggled early but steadied the ship against the Kings and looks to be the starter on Saturday night. The Caps definitely need to start off games better than they have lately. In the last 4 games, the Caps have been outscored 7-0 in the first period.
The Caps roll into San Jose looking for win number 50. The last time the Caps played the Sharks, Alex Ovechkin was benched for one game due to waking up late and arriving late to practice. The Caps proceeded to play their worst game of the season and lost 5-0 on home ice and gave newbie goaltender Martin Jones a shutout.
Fortunately for Washington, the Sharks are struggling at home this season with a 12-15-3 record for a league-low 27 points. The Caps need to take advantage of this and continue a winning trend in San Jose after snapping their 20 year losing streak in San Jose in 2014.
The Caps have the trio of Kuznetsov, Backstrom and Ovechkin with 68 points, 62 points and 61 points respectively. Braden Holtby has 15 games to win seven more and tie Martin Brodeur’s single-season win record. His current season record is 41-8-4 with a 2.25 GAA and .922 save percentage.
- Alex Ovechkin has not scored in four straight games for the third time in his career.
San Jose Sharks Pregame
Joel Ward is probably not thrilled to see the Caps. He is in the midst of a season-high eight game scoreless drought and probably wants nothing more than to snap out of it against his former team. This game will feature some great players on both sides. The San Jose duo of Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton have 64 points apiece while defenseman Brent Burns has matched a career high with 60 points this season.
Martin Jones looks to be the net minder starter with a 33-18-4 record, 2.29 GAA and a .918 save percentage this season. The third year goaltender has cemented his status as San Jose’s starting goalie.
- Brent Burns had nine points the last five games before it was snapped the other night.