National Hockey League
Capitals-Canucks Preview
National Hockey League

Capitals-Canucks Preview

Published Oct. 22, 2015 12:44 a.m. ET

The Washington Capitals opened their trip through Western Canada with their best scoring performance of the season and another milestone for the red-hot Alex Ovechkin.

Ovechkin tries to score in a fifth consecutive game Thursday night while leading the Capitals to their first road win over the Vancouver Canucks in 14 seasons.

Washington (4-1-0) pulled away for a 6-2 victory over Calgary on Tuesday with a trio of second-period goals and Ovechkin started the run just 30 seconds after the intermission. The tally also represented his 900th career point, and he registered his 901st by assisting on T.J. Oshie's third goal in as many contests.

"It's still real early, but these five games have been a good stepping stone. We've got some good tests coming up in teams, and that will be where we'll really have to be prepared," goaltender Braden Holtby told the team's official website. "Vancouver is really going to be a very good test for us. If we can stick to our game plan and not get too far ahead of ourselves, we'll be successful."


The Capitals have outscored opponents 14-4 during a three-game winning streak. Nicklas Backstrom has three goals and two assists in two games since returning from a hip injury.

He'll try to provide another standout performance while sending the Capitals to their first win in Vancouver since Feb. 14, 2001. Washington has gone 0-5-1 in its last six trips and is 2-10-1 in its past 13 overall matchups.

The Capitals dropped both games last season, falling 4-2 in Vancouver on Oct. 26.

The Canucks, however, enter this matchup having gone winless in their first three home games (0-1-2) for the first time since 1995-96. They haven't gone winless in four straight home games to open a season since 1994-95.

Vancouver (3-1-2) dropped to 1 for 20 on the power play by going 0 for 2 in Sunday's 2-1 overtime loss to Edmonton and is hoping to use its three-day break to its advantage.

"It was nice to practice a bit and work on our systems. Obviously, we weren't too happy with our result against Edmonton," defenseman Christopher Tanev said. "It's good to get back at practice for a few days and work hard and hopefully be prepared for (Thursday)."

The Canucks have kept Ovechkin to a combined three goals in his last eight matchups. He had a goal and an assist in each of his first two.

Vancouver's Daniel Sedin has five goals and five assists in a five-game point streak against the Capitals. Radim Vrbata has four goals and four assists in his last five meetings, but doesn't have a point so far this season after producing a career-best 63 in 2014-15, including 31 goals.

Ryan Miller has been in net in every game for the Canucks and is 4-1-0 with a 2.13 goals-against average in his last five games against Washington, including both matchups last season.

Holtby is slated to start in Vancouver and Philipp Grubauer will make his season debut in the finale of the road trip Friday against Edmonton. Holtby took a 4-3 loss in his only game versus the Canucks on Dec. 2.


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