Jan 14, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin (8) skates with the puck as San Jose Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin (52) defends in the second period at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

San Jose Sharks Look to Keep Rolling Against Capitals: Game Preview


The San Jose Sharks will battle Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on Saturday night at SAP Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks notched arguably their most important win of the season on Thursday night, beating the Anaheim Ducks and overtaking them for the Pacific Division lead. They are on an absolute tear, winning seven of eight and peaking at the right time.

San Jose will look to keep the good times rolling as it will battle the Alexander Ovechkin, the NHL’s top goal scorer, and the Washington Capitals on Saturday night at SAP Center.

The Capitals’ offense overall may be average, but their power play, starring Ovechkin, is lethal, second in the NHL at 23 percent. By contrast, the Sharks’ power play has struggled mightily as of late, and they sit in the bottom third of the league on the man advantage. Look for special teams to play a role tonight.

Both teams have something to play for in this game, with the Sharks looking to maintain their division lead, while the Capitals are fighting for a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. With 77 points, they stand a point behind the Blue Jackets for the second and final wild card position in the East. The Sharks could also possibly clinch a playoff spot with a win, but it involves some complicated scenarios that aren’t worth discussing since a playoff spot is a virtual lock at this point for Team Teal.

Tale of the Tape

Sharks

  • Goals for per game: 2.94 (7th)
  • Goals against per game: 2.32 (4th)
  • Shots per game: 34.9 (1st)
  • Shots against per game: 27.8 (5th)
  • Penalty minutes: 652 (5th)
  • Power play percentage: 16.1% (22nd)
  • Penalty kill percentage: 84.5% (7th)

Capitals:

  • Goals for per game: 2.77 (14th)
  • Goals against per game: 2.86 (22nd)
  • Shots per game: 29.9 (17th)
  • Shots against per game: 33.5 (27th)
  • Penalty minutes: 880 (23rd)
  • Power play percentage: 23.9% (2nd)
  • Penalty kill percentage: 81.4% (18th)

Top Performers

Sharks: Joe Thornton (11 G, 58 A), Joe Pavelski (34 G, 33 A), Patrick Marleau (29 G, 32 A)

Capitals: Alexander Ovechkin (46 G, 23 A), Nicklas Backstrom (13 G, 56 A), Joel Ward (22 G, 20 A)

Injury Report

Sharks: : Tomas Hertl (knee) is on IR. Raffi Torres (soreness) did not play Thursday. Brad Stuart (upper body) has been out since the Olympic break but may play on Saturday.

Capitals: Mikhail Grabovski (lower body), Brooks Laich (groin) and Aaron Volpatti (upper body) are out for the Capitals.

Probable Lines

SAN JOSE (46-18-7)

Forwards

Pavelski-Thornton-Burns

Marleau-Couture-Nieto

Wingels-Sheppard-Havlat

Brown-Desjardins-Burish

Defensemen

Vlasic-Demers

Hannan-Boyle

Irwin-Braun

Goalies

Niemi

Stalock

WASHINGTON (33-27-11)

Forwards

Johansson-Beagle-Ovechkin

Kuznetsov-Backstrom-Brouwer

Chimera-Fehr-Ward

Penner-Brown-Wilson

Defensemen

Alzner-Carlson

Hillen-Green

Orlov-Wey

Goalies

Halak

Holtby

Game Info

Opening Face-off: 7:30 PM PST

Location: SAP Center, San Jose, CA

TV: LOCAL

Tags: San Jose Sharks