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Ducks @ Capitals Preview: Mr. Boudreau Goes (Back) to Washington

The Anaheim Ducks head coach travels back to visit his first NHL club for only the second time since being fired in November 2011, as his new team does battle with the high-power Washington Capitals.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

They say one man's trash is another man's treasure. Well that's exactly what happened in November 2011. The Washington Capitals, after a mediocre month of November in which the Capitals won just four of 13 games, Washington replaced their head coach. Two days later, Anaheim announced it had parted ways with Randy Carlyle and replaced him with Bruce Boudreau.

The man known as Gabby spent a whole whopping two days unemployed.

Boudreau has since led the Ducks to some pretty impressive numbers, including back-to-back Pacific Division titles, and are well on their way to their third consecutive. Add that to the four consecutive division titles he won with the Caps and Boudreau has won the division in six of his seven seasons at the helm of an NHL club.

On Friday he returns to the club that gave him his start in coaching for just the second time as the Ducks face the streaky, but offensively explosive Capitals.

Game Notes:

The biggest question early comes in the form of the health of Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, who left the game against against the Nashville Predators before it even started, sustaining a "lower body" injury in the pre-game warmup period.

Bruce Boudreau was cautious in his words following the game, saying the captain would travel to Washington but made it sound a lot like Getz will not be suiting up.

Meanwhile the Ducks will be looking straight into the slightly smoky-tinted visor of the NHL's co-leader in goal scorering in Alex Ovechkin on the other bench. Ovie recorded his 32nd goal of the season and fifth in as many games in Washington's 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.

Washington's goaltender Braden Holtby earned his 25th victory of the season and most likely will be back in net again for the game against the Ducks.

What Can We Learn From This Game:

The Caps have a modest two game win streak going, shutting out the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, and winning Thursday night against the listless Senators.

But wait... does that mean both teams played Thursday? Yes. Yes it does.

While Anaheim was claiming sole possession of first-overall in the NHL by defeating Nashville, the Caps were also in action, meaning both squads will come into the game tonight on the tail end of a back-to-back.

Anaheim won despite the loss of their captain, but did so amidst a truly dreadful third period in which they were outshot 24-2. Call it score effects, perhaps, but Anaheim's defense appeared to be pretty soft in terms of pressuring the Predators, particularly at their own blueline.

The Capitals are a similar offense in that both have a good amount of scoring talent, with the exception that this time they're going to be facing one of the most dangerous snipers in the NHL.

So needless to say the measuring-stick road trip will continue, particularly for a healthy defense that has once again been rendered completely use in terms of shot-prevention. Consider this yet another game that could have serious ramifications on whether or not Anaheim makes a big move before March 2nd.

Fearless Prediction:

Despite the fact that literally everybody who's ever watched a Capitals game knows that the entire Washington power play involves giving the puck to Ovechkin, the Ducks still find a way to leave him without a white jersey within 30 feet of him... twice.