Date: Friday, December 6, 2019
Time: 7:00 PM Pacific
Location: Honda Center
Radio: AM 830
Your Enemy: Japers’ Rink
The Anaheim Ducks (12-12-4) will host the Washington Capitals (21-4-5) on Friday night. Washington has won five straight, including Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Center Nicklas Backstrom has missed seven straight games with an upper-body injury but could be back in the lineup shortly.
The Ducks defeated Los Angeles 4-2 in Anaheim on Monday but have been idle since then. They hope to split the season series with the Capitals after losing 5-2 on November 18. Josh Manson is not yet ready to return from his knee ailment but appears to be working toward making his way back into the lineup sometime next week.
Players to Watch
Not only is John Carlson having a terrific overall season with 42 points so far, the defenseman also scored two goals at Staples Center. For good measure, he posted three points against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday. For Anaheim, Derek Grant scored two big goals against the Kings as if to remind us of his hat trick back on November 16 in St. Louis.
Keys to the Game
Stay out of the office.
Alex Ovechkin already has 20 goals, and eight of those have arrived on the power play. He victimized the Ducks for one of those following a Carter Rowney slashing penalty. It seems simple enough to avoid the penalty box, but Anaheim took a total of 33 penalty minutes in their first meeting.
Get even on the scoreboard.
Let’s face it: this is probably one of the toughest games remaining on the schedule for the Ducks. Things could get even more difficult if they can’t forget about the overall nastiness that ensued the last time they played the Capitals. That one featured the infamous Garnet Hathaway spitting incident involving Erik Gudbranson that resulted in a three-game suspension for the Washington winger. When asked about it, Gubdranson told The Athletic: “I just want to get two points.”
Protect the house.
Ryan Miller got the win on Monday after John Gibson was sidelined due to illness. Dallas Eakins wouldn’t commit to a starting goalie for Friday, but Gibson was on the ice for an optional workout. Braden Holtby is expected to start in net for the Capitals. Regardless of the Anaheim netminder, limiting opportunities is key. The Ducks actually outshot Washington 34-31 on the road. The Capitals also dropped two straight games in November during which they were held to a single goal, in case you’re looking for an upset recipe.