Sharks aim to extend dominance of Capitals

( - The San Jose Sharks hope to continue their mastery of the Washington Capitals when they kick off a three-game road trip in Tuesday's clash at the Verizon Center.

The Sharks have won five straight and 16 of the last 17 meetings in this series, with Washington's last win coming at home on Oct. 15, 2009. San Jose has taken two straight in D.C. since that loss over four years ago and has claimed eight of the past nine encounters in the nation's capital.

San Jose, however, is coming off losses in two of its last three games and it was shut out 1-0 by a visiting Boston club on Saturday. It was just the second home regulation loss of the season for the Sharks, who are 16-2-3 in San Jose this season compared to a 12-10-3 mark on the road.

The Sharks fired 26 shots at Tuukka Rask on Saturday, but he stopped every one of them and Carl Soderberg scored the only goal of the game. Antti Niemi took the hard-luck loss as he stopped 21 shots for the Sharks, who have alternated losses and wins over their past seven games, going 3-4-0 during that stretch.

"It was a balanced game from both teams," said San Jose captain Joe Thornton. "Just that one shot got through and that was the difference. The goalies were great tonight."

After beginning its road trip tonight, the Sharks will head to Florida on Thursday before completing the swing Saturday at Tampa Bay.

Washington is coming off Sunday's home shootout loss to Buffalo. The 2-1 setback was the fifth loss in seven games for the Capitals.

Cody Hodgson registered the shootout winner to help the Sabres sneak past the Capitals at Verizon Center. Five previous shooters failed to produce a marker, until Hodgson made several stick fakes and stuck a wrister high and inside the right post to complete the third round and end the contest.

Jason Chimera netted the lone score for the Capitals, while Philipp Grubauer took the loss despite a 30-save performance.

The regulation loss combined with a New York Rangers win over Philadelphia later on Sunday to allow the Blueshirts to tie Washington for second place in the Metropolitan Division. The Flyers, who are just one point back in fourth, play Tuesday in Buffalo, while the Rangers are hosting Tampa Bay.

"You want the points. You want to get points every single time you can because it will bite you later in the year," said Caps head coach Adam Oates about the competitive Metropolitan Division along with the playoff chase. "We wanted two points, no question, but the way the game was going I'm glad we got one."

Washington had a two-game win streak halted on Sunday and fell to 1-0-1 on a three-game homestand. The Caps are 14-8-3 as the host this season.