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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
Washington Capitals Projected Lineup (Per):
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.
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