The Washington Capitals had their pucks handed back to them Monday night in Anaheim. Goalie John Gibson walked away with a shutout while Braden Holtby was pulled after the first period and Philipp Grubauer stepped in, but to no avail. The Caps fell 4-0 to the Ducks.
Wednesday night the Caps will travel up the road to the Staple Center, the home of LA Kings, who sit in fourth place in the Pacific Division and are currently in a wild card position. The Kings are feeling pretty good after a nice win (5-2) over the Blue Jackets and yet still smarting a bit from a 5-3 loss to the Blackhawks on 3 March. They need this win against Washington.
The Kings and Caps have played 16 games against each other since 2005. The Kings have won 11 of those match ups. Of those 16 games, the Caps have won only one game in LA. Let’s face it, the Caps have a hard time on these Western Conference trips. Is it a different style of play? Is it a time change? Is it is mindset?
A 2017/11/30 Los Angeles Kings 5 - Washington Capitals 2 W
H 2017/03/11 Los Angeles Kings 4 - Washington Capitals 2 W
A 2017/02/05 Los Angeles Kings 0 - Washington Capitals 5 L
H 2016/03/09 Los Angeles Kings 4 - Washington Capitals 3 (OT) W
A 2016/02/16 Los Angeles Kings 1 - Washington Capitals 3 L
H 2015/02/14 Los Angeles Kings 3 - Washington Capitals 1 W
A 2015/02/03 Los Angeles Kings 0 - Washington Capitals 4 L
A 2014/03/25 Los Angeles Kings 5 - Washington Capitals 4 (SO) W
H 2014/03/20 Los Angeles Kings 2 - Washington Capitals 1 (SO) W
H 2012/01/09 Los Angeles Kings 5 - Washington Capitals 2 W
A 2011/02/12 Los Angeles Kings 4 - Washington Capitals 1 W
H 2010/01/02 Los Angeles Kings 2 - Washington Capitals 1 W
A 2009/02/05 Los Angeles Kings 5 - Washington Capitals 4 W
H 2008/11/20 Los Angeles Kings 5 - Washington Capitals 2 W
A 2007/02/08 Los Angeles Kings 3 - Washington Capitals 4 (OT) L
H 2005/12/14 Los Angeles Kings 2 - Washington Capitals 3 L
It won’t be easy for either team. The Kings, like the Caps, have been spending more time in the sin bin then they would like. Top guys like Drew Dougherty need to set the tone for the team. The Caps have had issues with defenseman Brooks Orpik, especially taking some late game penalties. The Kings have an 83.4 percent penalty kill average and ranks second it the league–the Caps not so much.
The Caps will need to keep a watch on Jeff Carter – not to mention Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli who have been playing a strong game of late. Oh and lets not forget Kopitar – our favorite to watch. They of course have to deal with the power year Alex Ovechkin is having. Ovi leads the team and the league in goals at 40. He is also on the prowl to notch two more goals for 600. Kuznetsov leads in assists and lets not forget defenseman John Carlson who has more time on ice then anybody and keeps bringing it night after night.
We don’t know for sure who will be in the net for either team. Could be Holtby but we have a sense coach will go with Grubauer given how quick he was to pull Holtz on Monday. And speaking of Quick, if he is in the net he is sure to be a formidable presence in the net.
LA Insider Jon Rosen talked with Coach Stevens about the pending match and coach indicated that the Caps could be fired up after the big loss in Anaheim–something about the Caps forecheck. The Capitals want to hang onto the top spot while the Kings want to move up from wild card and into a sure spot in time for the playoffs. Any way you look at it, this is going to be a great game for DC fans to stay up late and watch.