Capitals-Ducks Preview

Since winning his first matchup against his former team, Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau has dropped the past two, with the latest coming last weekend.

Having snapped one of their longest skids of the season, the Ducks will try to keep heading in the right direction by ending a four-game home losing streak to the Washington Capitals in Sunday's rematch.

After taking over Anaheim in the 2011-12 season, Boudreau had to wait until Dec. 23, 2013 to face his former team, guiding the Ducks to a 3-2 win in Washington. The coach of the Capitals for four-plus seasons watched his former team shake off a late tying goal to earn a 3-2 shootout victory in the nation's capital Feb. 6.

The Ducks (35-14-7) took two more defeats on their five-game trip before edging Carolina 2-1 in Thursday's finale. Matt Beleskey scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period and assisted on Francois Beauchemin's.

"It's good to be challenged," forward Tim Jackman told the team's official website. "We've had some success this year, but when you battle adversity, you see things differently. I thought we really bounced back against Carolina. We stepped up and did a lot of good things. Hopefully we found our game again."

Anaheim has been one of the league's best teams on its own ice since the beginning of December, going 12-3-0, but hasn't earned a home win over Washington since Dec. 11, 2002.

The Ducks are 0-3-1 in the last four visits from the Capitals (29-17-10) and took a 3-2 loss in the most recent March 18.

Washington heads into Anaheim having dropped two of three after matching a season high with three consecutive wins. The Capitals opened a four-game road trip with a 5-4 overtime victory against San Jose on Wednesday then fell 3-1 to Los Angeles on Saturday.

Alex Ovechkin scored his 34th, giving him 20 in the last 25 games, but the Kings scored twice in the third period despite being outshot 14-4. The Capitals were outshot 26-14 in the first two periods.

"We were trying like heck in the third, but we needed that kind of push and desperation for the whole game. They had it, and we didn't. That's why we lost," defenseman Matt Niskanen said. "The good thing is we only have to chew on this one for tonight."

Ovechkin trails only the New York Rangers' Rick Nash by one goal in the league race and has seven assists in his red-hot stretch, but didn't register a point against Anaheim last weekend. He has one goal and one assist in his past four matchups after totaling six goals and seven assists in his first six.

Nicklas Backstrom has four goals and six assists in eight all-time meetings while Troy Brouwer has two goals and three assists in his past four.

With goaltender Frederik Andersen on injured reserve (head), the Capitals will see either Ilya Bryzgalov for a second straight time or John Gibson, who has never faced Washington.

Capitals backup netminder Justin Peters could start Sunday after Braden Holtby played Saturday. Peters is 1-0-1 with a 1.85 goals-against average against the Ducks, last facing them Nov. 15, 2013, while with Carolina.

Holtby, who has allowed seven goals in his last two starts after surrendering four in his previous five, has never faced the Ducks.

Anaheim defenseman Hampus Lindholm has one goal and four assists in three career games against Washington.


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