Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series tied 1-1

Game 1: Thursday, October 15th
Game 2: Wednesday, December 30th

Sharks 1

(3-3-1, 7 pts)

Capitals 4

(3-2-2, 8 pts)

Coverage: NHL

7:00 PM ET, October 15, 2009

Verizon Center, Washington, District of Columbia

1 2 3 T
SJ 1 0 01
WSH 1 2 14

A. Ovechkin (Capitals - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

M. Knuble (Capitals - RW): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

A. Semin (Capitals - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Sharks-Capitals Preview


The San Jose Sharks would like to get off to a fast start on their six-game eastern trip.

Facing a Washington Capitals team they haven't lost to in more than a decade seems like a good first step.

San Jose tries to win its 12th straight over Washington on Thursday night as the Capitals look to avoid their longest losing streak in two seasons.

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The Sharks (3-2-1) closed their three-game homestand Monday with a 1-0 shootout loss to Phoenix.

Evgeni Nabokov made 30 saves and recorded his 48th career shutout as San Jose posted a season-low 26 shots.

"It's great to have him back there," center Scott Nichol said of Nabokov, who is 8-0-0 with a 1.98 GAA in eight career starts against Washington. "You know he's going to make the save. Those guys played a great road game. They didn't give us too much and we didn't do enough to draw penalties."

San Jose went 1 for 12 on the power play during its homestand after converting 6 for 16 during its 1-2-0 trip to begin the season.

"I think it's a good thing for our club to be going out there right now," coach Todd McLellan told the Sharks' official Web site. "It's one of our longest trips (11 days) of the year. I'm glad it's early October instead of late March. It will give us a chance to find our game."

That hasn't been a problem against Washington. In the teams' only meeting last season, San Jose defeated the visiting Capitals 7-2 on Nov. 22 for its 11th straight victory in this matchup.

Washington's last victory over the Sharks was on Feb. 20, 1999.

San Jose has won six straight in the nation's capital.

Washington (2-2-2) looks to end that streak and its four-game slide, which is its longest since an 0-5-0 stretch from Nov. 10-21, 2007.

"Whether we win by eight or lose by eight tomorrow, we're still going to believe we can play with the big boys," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said Wednesday. "Obviously, it would be nicer to win because they thumped us pretty good last year in San Jose."

Washington is looking to bounce back from Monday's 3-2 shootout loss to New Jersey. Mike Knuble had a goal and an assist after taking Alexander Semin's spot on the top line, but the Capitals went 0 for 5 on the power play.

Washington, which was second in the NHL last season with the man advantage at 25.2 percent, is converting 20.7 percent (6 for 29) this season.

"We've gone through a whole lot of units, whether it's Mike (Knuble) or Semin," Boudreau said. "The same thing happened last year, and then we caught on late in October and the power play was very good after that."

Alexander Ovechkin, the two-time defending Hart Trophy winner, has not found the back of the net in the last three games, but he leads the team with 12 points.

Ovechkin has no goals and one assist in three career games versus San Jose.

Forward Dany Heatley, who is tied with Joe Thornton with a team-high 10 points, faces the Capitals for the first time in a Sharks uniform. In 28 career games against Washington, Heatley has 11 goals and 21 assists.

The Capitals visit HP Pavilion on Dec. 30 in the teams' final regular-season meeting.