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Ducks @ Capitals PREVIEW: Who Is This Ovechkin Guy?

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Never heard of him

NHL: Washington Capitals at Anaheim Ducks Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Game # 33

Anaheim Ducks @ Washington Capitals

Saturday, December 16th, 5:00PM PST

TV: NBCSWA, KCOP-13

Radio: AM 830

The Enemy: Japers’ Rink


The Anaheim Ducks are coming off a huge 3-1 victory over the St Louis Blues to kick off a six-game road trip that will take them next to Washington to play the Seattle Capitals (other Washington, got it). The Capitals are coming off a 5-3 victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night. Washington is 8-2-0 in their last ten games, and the Ducks will have their hands full trying to contain a Caps offense that has scored give goals in each of their last two games.

Apparently, there’s some player everyone is telling us to look out for named Alex Ovechkin, but with legendary defenseman Kevin Bieksa protecting the blue line, I hardly expect him to make an impact. I guess the guy has like, 22 goals or something on the year so far, which is tied for the league lead. This stat will no doubt propel the Capitals straight into the Conference Finals this year!

The Ducks will be looking to win their third straight contest, something that hasn’t happened since the middle of November. It will certainly be a very difficult challenge for an Anaheim Ducks team that is still working to build chemistry after having a majority of the missing key pieces rejoin their lineup. The Ducks may see the return of Hampus Lindholm to the lineup if he is feeling up to the task after his recovery from an upper-body injury, but I would not be surprised to sit out another game just to be sure.

All Eyes On Me

My player to watch for this game will be Rickard Rakell, as he has now had some time to get re-acclimated with having Ryan Getzlaf as his center. He had a couple dangerous chances against St. Louis and was able to record an assist on the night, and I think that tonight poses a great opportunity for him to get the offense rolling. Washington, I see your skill and I raise you Rickard Rakell. Your move.

Keys to the Game

1. Don’t Let Washington Score Five Goals - Seems a bit obvious, but they’ve now done it two games in a row. If the Ducks make it three, I will just go ahead and assume that Anaheim won’t be leaving the nation’s capital with any points in the standings to show for their trip.

2. Special Teams - The Capitals are notorious for being incredibly dangerous on the power play because of Ovechkin, and the Ducks will need to ensure that they limit the number of times they find themselves shorthanded, or else key #1 will go poorly. On the opposite end, the Ducks need to find ways to make the most of the few opportunities that they do get with the man advantage. Pressure Washington by scoring goals, simple as that.

3. John Gibson - John Gibson will need to be good for the Ducks to get the victory. It’s been the story all season and I expect nothing different this time around, especially against an offense as dangerous as the Capitals.