PREVIEW: Ducks Could Clinch Division Against Capitals

ANAvsWSH

By Michael Walters

The Anaheim Ducks(45-25-11) head to Washington, D.C. for the last game of the season against the league best Capitals(56-17-8). The Ducks played the Capitals once losing in a shootout. The game starts at 4:30 PM PT today.

The Ducks can take home the Pacific Division crown today with any kind of win over the Capitals. The Ducks won yesterday and the Kings lost in a shootout, opening the door for Anaheim to have one final shot at being first in the division. If Anaheim wins today, then they would face Nashville in the first round of the playoffs. Anaheim would have home ice for at least the first two rounds of the playoffs.

Any kind of loss today and the Ducks will finish second in the Pacific Division. They would face San Jose as a result in the first round. Anaheim would only be guaranteed home ice for the first round.

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Keys To The Game:

Ducks

1. Score First: The Ducks need to get on the board early and put the Capitals on the their heels. The Ducks need to come out strong and continue to play hard for the entire game.

2. Special Teams: Barring any kind of strange special teams play in this game, the Ducks will end the season with the best penalty kill and power play units in the league. The last time a team accomplished that was in 1985.

Capitals

1. Discipline: This game has no meaning in terms of the playoffs for Washington. They need to play smart and avoid any injuries in this contest.

2. Speed: Washington’s speed and skating ability has been key for them all season. Their ability to push the puck up and down the rink has caused trouble for opposing defenses.

Players To Watch:

Ducks

1. Jakob Silfverberg: He scored twice yesterday and reached the 20 goal mark for the first time in his career. He has played well the second half of the season with Ryan Kesler and Andrew Cogliano.

2. Ryan Garbutt: He had an eventful game yesterday against Colorado. He scored a goal, was subject a of cheap shot, and was also called for some penalties. He has provided energy in the Ducks lineup.

Capitals

1. Evgeny Kuznetsov: He leads the Capitals in total points with 77(20G + 57A). He has three points in his last five games.

2. T.J. Oshie: He is the second leading goal scorer with 26. He has five points in his last five games.

Shirt Sale! DNPHockey.com

Shirt Sale! DNPHockey.com

Anaheim Ducks Projected Lineup(Per Brian Hayward of the Anaheim Ducks):
Injuries: Kevin Bieksa(Upper Body), David Perron(Shoulder)Rickard Rakell(Appendicitis), Brandon Pirri(Upper Body), and Sami Vatanen(flu).
John Gibson and Ryan Kesler returned home last night. Both have lower body injuries, but should be okay for the playoffs per Eric Stephens of the OC Register.
This is the Ducks lineup from yesterday. It will be interesting to see how it might change today since Anaheim can win the division.

Offense

Ryan Garbutt  – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry

Andrew Cogliano – Nate Thompson – Jakob Silfverberg 

Jamie McGinn – Shawn Horcoff –  Chris Stewart 

Nick Ritchie – Chris Wagner – Mike Santorelli

Defense

Cam Fowler – Simon Despres

Hampus Lindholm – Josh Manson

Clayton Stoner  Shea Theodore

Washington Capitals Projected Lineup (Per Leftwinglock.com):

Injuries: None

This is the Capitals lineup from yesterday. With the team claiming the first seed and home ice already, the Capitals may rest some of their players. Alex Ovechkin recorded a hat trick last night and has 50 goals on the season. Braden Holtby won his 48th game tying Martin Brodeur’s record for victories in a single season. It’s possible they both might not play tonight.

Offense

Alex OvechkinNicklas BackstromT.J. Oshie

Andre BurakovskyEvgeny KuznetsovJustin Williams

Jason ChimeraMike RichardsMarcus Johansson

Daniel WinnikJay BeagleTom Wilson

Defense

Karl AlznerMatt Niskanen

Brooks OrpikJohn Carlson

Dmitry OrlovMike Weber

Ducks:                                                Frederik Andersen    21-9-7 GAA 2.36 SV% .917% (Confirmed)

Capitals:                                             Philipp Grubauer        8-8-1 GAA 2.34 SV% .918% (Confirmed)

TEAM COMPARISON 

GP RECORD HOME ROAD L10 G/GP GA/GP PP% PK% PIM/GP S/GP SA/GP FO%
81 45-25-11 25-10-6 20-15-5 5-3-2 2.63 2.32 23.4 87.1 12.5 30.4 27.6 51.8
81 56-17-8 29-7-4 27-10-4 5-2-3 3.06 2.33 22.2 85.0 9.1 30.7 28.5 49.7
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