Preview: Capitals at Kings
Washington looks to avoid third straight loss; Jonathan Quick likely in goal for Los Angeles
by Forrest Lee / NHL.com Correspondent
CAPITALS (44-15-7) at KINGS (32-28-6)
10:30 p.m. ET; FS-W, CSN-DC+, NHL.TV
Capitals team scope
The Washington Capitals have lost two in a row and are 5-4-1 since returning from their six-day break. They haven't lost three straight in regulation since Feb. 22-27, 2015. The Capitals, who are coming off a 4-2 loss against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Thursday, are three points ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins in the Metropolitan Division entering play Saturday. Coach Barry Trotz is expected change his top two lines. Marcus Johansson skated at practice Friday with Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie on the top line. Alex Ovechkin skated with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson. Ovechkin has one point in the past seven games and hasn't scored an even-strength goal in a career-high 16 games. "He's skating probably as well as he has all year," Trotz told the Washington Post. "I like his work ethic. If he just keeps adding that little bit of physical element and keeps shooting the puck, he's going to score some goals. I'm pretty sure about that. I'll bet anybody that he will." Braden Holtby (34-10-5), who leads the NHL in goals-against average (1.97) and shutouts (eight) entering Saturday, is expected to start in goal. The Capitals are 0-4-2 in their past six games at Los Angeles. Washington, which will play the second of three games on its California trip, is 14-5-0 against Western Conference opponents.
Kings team scope
Jonathan Quick, who had 21 saves in a 3-2 win against the Nashville Predators on Thursday, is expected to start in goal for the Los Angeles Kings. Quick is 3-0-1 in four starts since returning from a groin injury that forced him to miss 59 games. He is 6-2-0 with a 2.44 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage in eight career games against the Capitals. "First off, they have one of the best goalies in the League, and they have one of the most experienced teams in the League, and it's not like they've all of a sudden come upon that," coach Darryl Sutter said of the Capitals after the morning skate Saturday. "If you have the opportunity to watch Washington play, they've been a dominant team for a number of years now." The Kings are three points behind the St. Louis Blues for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. "They're a really good team so we have to come out heavy and play fast and keep them away from our net," Kempe said. "I think we have to play heavy around their net and get a lot of shots through."
Capitals projected lineup
Marcus Johansson -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie
Alex Ovechkin -- Evgeny Kuznetsova -- Tom Wilson
Brett Connolly -- Lars Eller -- Justin Williams
Daniel Winnik -- Jay Beagle -- Jakub Vrana
Karl Alzner -- John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik -- Kevin Shattenkirk
Scratched: Nate Schmidt, Taylor Chorney
Injured: Andre Burakovsky (hand)
Kings projected lineup
Marian Gaborik -- Anze Kopitar -- Jarome Iginla
Tanner Pearson -- Jeff Carter -- Tyler Toffoli
Trevor Lewis -- Adrian Kempe -- Dustin Brown
Andy Andreoff -- Nic Dowd -- Kyle Clifford
Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin -- Paul LaDue
Kevin Gravel -- Alec Martinez
Scratched: Brayden McNabb
Injured: Jordan Nolan (undisclosed), Nick Shore (upper body)
Nolan and Shore did not participate in the morning skate Saturday and are each listed as day to day.
Backstrom has 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in his past 17 games. ... Shattenkirk has an assist in three straight games and tied his career high with his 45th point on Thursday. … Doughty has an assist in three straight games.
Gonna try and watch this one, hitting the sack almost as soon as I hit post...