Ducks-Capitals Preview

The Anaheim Ducks’ franchise-best eight-game winning streak has

vaulted them to the top of the NHL.

They’ll try to stay there Monday night as they face the

Washington Capitals in coach Bruce Boudreau’s return to the Verizon

Center.

Anaheim (26-7-5) pushed its winning streak to eight by rallying

from a 3-1 deficit entering the third period against the New York

Islanders on Saturday, scoring the last four goals.

“We talked after the second of just continuing to play our

game,” Boudreau said. “We were very calm about it and knew if we

got one quickly, we’d have a great chance.”

The Ducks are 9-0-2 in their last 11, and their latest victory

pushed them one point ahead of Chicago for the highest point total

in the league. The Blackhawks also play Monday.

Ryan Getzlaf led the way with three goals and an assist while

Kyle Palmieri had a goal and an assist for the second straight

game. Corey Perry finished with three assists.

“Those goals feel really, really good,” Palmieri said. “We find

ways to win and tonight was another example of our patience and

skill.”

These teams last met Nov. 1, 2011, a 5-4 Washington overtime

victory. Boudreau was behind the Capitals’ bench for it, but he was

dismissed later that month. He’ll be making his first return to the

place where he coached for four-plus seasons and guided Washington

to at least 48 wins three times.

Frederick Andersen improved to 9-1-0 on Saturday to become the

third goaltender in league history to earn at least nine wins in

his first 10 career starts.

Jonas Hiller had been in goal for the previous five wins and

hasn’t allowed more than two goals in his last seven starts. He’s

6-0-1 in that span with a 1.80 goals-against average.

The Capitals (19-13-4), however, have roughed him up as he’s

posted a 4.04 GAA in three career matchups.

If Hiller starts, facing a red-hot Alex Ovechkin might make it

tough for him to improve that number. The NHL goal leader has

scored eight times in his last six games with one in four straight.

He has 14 points in seven career games against the Ducks.

Ovechkin’s 30th goal of the season in a 5-4 overtime loss to New

Jersey on Saturday tied him with Nicklas Backstrom for the team

point lead with 41.

The Capitals, struggling to find consistency, let a 3-1 lead

entering the third period slip away after winning 4-2 over Carolina

on Friday.

“Three out of four points on the weekend is not too bad,”

forward Jason Chimera told the team’s official website. “So we have

to look at it positively. Obviously it was disappointing, but we

have to move on and look at the bright spots.”

Goaltender Braden Holtby hasn’t been one of them lately. After

allowing five goals against the Devils, he has a 5.93 GAA in his

last three games.

Washington’s penalty kill has also been lacking, allowing five

goals in 13 short-handed situations over the last three games.

They’ll try to fix that against the second-best offensive team

in the Eastern Conference.

“Let’s just think about hockey for one more day because we’re

playing the hottest team in the league, a really good team,”

Capitals coach Adam Oates said. “Just keep it on your minds before

we go break for Christmas.”

Washington has won its last two meetings with Anaheim, with the

teams combining for 22 goals in those contests.

Capitals forward Brooks Laich hopes to return Monday after

missing the last 11 games with a lower-body injury.