Avalanche-Capitals Preview

BY foxsports • November 20, 2015

Every loss for the Washington Capitals has been followed with a win.

They'll have another opportunity to continue that trend Saturday night when they host the Colorado Avalanche and red-hot Matt Duchene.

Almost lost in the celebration of Alex Ovechkin scoring the 484th goal of his career Thursday to break Sergei Fedorov's record for most by a Russian-born player, was a 3-2 loss to visiting Dallas.

Ovechkin, who had gone four games without a point, scored the tying goal 7:01 into the third period before Jason Spezza converted Jason Chimera's turnover into the game-winner just over four minutes later.

''I think he wishes that we won the game, but obviously it's a huge accomplishment,'' said Nicklas Backstrom, who assisted on Ovechkin's milestone goal and also added his seventh. ''I'm really happy for him.''

Washington (12-5-1) allowed the first goal for the ninth straight game but outshot an opponent for the eighth consecutive time.

"Overall, I thought we deserved better; at least one point, I think," Backstrom told the team's official website. "But at the same time, that's what happens in hockey. You've just got to find a way to win these games, but we'll have a new game on Saturday so we've just got to look forward to that."

A loss for the Capitals seems to bring out their best the following game. In the contest after their five previous losses, they've outscored the opposition 17-6 and gone 5 for 17 on the power play.

Braden Holtby figures to be back in net after Philipp Grubauer got the nod Thursday. Holtby is 4-1-0 with a 1.39 goals-against average in his past five starts and has surrendered two goals or fewer in six straight home appearances. He stopped 31 shots in his only game against Colorado, a 2-1 victory Jan. 12.

A matchup with the Avalanche (7-11-1) hasn't been easy for goaltenders lately, with Duchene their biggest problem.

Colorado opened its seven-game, 15-day road trip by scoring 13 goals in wins over Philadelphia, Boston and Montreal before totaling four in losses to Toronto and Pittsburgh.

Duchene scored his second goal of the game with 83 seconds remaining, but the Avalanche were unable to get the equalizer in Thursday's 4-3 loss to the Penguins.

''It was a hard-fought game, but at the same time we have to find ways to win those hockey games,'' coach Patrick Roy said. ''That's what we should be concerned about.''

Duchene has six goals and five assists during a five-game streak and 15 points in nine games this month. The line of Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog has combined for 18 points in the last five games.

Roy said he has no plans to break up his top line in an attempt to spread out the scoring.

"That line is playing good hockey for us, and they're going to stay like this," he told the team's official website. "The other lines, it's their job to find ways to compete. I'm not going to spread out the lineup, no way."

The Capitals have won two straight against the Avalanche following a four-game losing streak in the series. Ovechkin has scored in both of those wins after he was held without a goal in the previous seven meetings.

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