Sharks look to continue home dominance as they host Capitals - The Hockey News on Sports Illustrated

Sharks look to continue home dominance as they host Capitals

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Washington (11-5-3) at San Jose (16-3-1), 10:30pm EST

SAN JOSE, California (Ticker) -- As the Washington Capitals look

to regain the winning touch on their five-game road trip, they

couldn't be facing a tougher opponent.

The Southeast Division leaders travel to San Jose on Saturday to

take on the Sharks, who have been practically unbeatable at

home. In fact, the only blemish on their home mark this season

was a 4-3 overtime loss to the Nashville Predators last week.

Overall, they have not dropped a regulation game at the HP

Pavilion during the regular season since February 14, 2008 - a

3-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. In the 20 home games since,

they have racked up an 18-0-2 record.

Of course, this year's Sharks have been hard to stop regardless

of the venue. They lead the league with 33 points and 71 goals.

Left wing Patrick Marleau and right wing Devin Setoguchi pave

the way with 22 points apiece, while former Hart Trophy winner

Joe Thornton has chipped in with four goals and 16 assists.

San Jose has won three games in a row, posting 16 goals during

that span. Most recently, the Sharks got revenge for their

earlier home loss to the Predators, scoring a pair of

first-period goals in an 87-second span en route to a 4-1

victory on Monday. That came just one night after a wild 6-5

triumph over the Chicago Blackhawks during which they scored

four power-play goals - including two by defenseman Dan Boyle.

Already a nearly unstoppable force, the Sharks will officially

get stronger as goaltender Evgeni Nabokov is expected to return.

The 33-year-old Russian has missed the last six games with an

undisclosed lower body injury but appears ready to play. He is

10-2-0 with a 2.71 goals-against average.

The Capitals are no slouches, either. They are the

second-highest scoring team in the Eastern Conference, thanks in

large part to star left wings Alexander Ovechkin (eight goals,

15 assists) and Alexander Semin (13 goals, 14 assists).

However, Semin has missed the last three games with a strained

shoulder and upper back and he is not expected to play Saturday,

according to the Washington Post.

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