(SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Capitals aim to rebound and avoid their first loss in Anaheim in over 12 years on Sunday evening as they visit the Pacific Division-leading Ducks.
The Capitals had won four of five going into last night's meeting with the Los Angeles Kings, who picked up a 3-1 win over Washington. Alex Ovechkin had the lone goal in defeat and Braden Holtby made 27 saves.
Ovechkin's 34th goal of the season, second in the NHL, was scored 1:55 into the third period and not long after the Kings took a 2-0 lead, but Washington's offense stalled from there.
"I thought we didn't have enough urgency in our game," said Capitals coach Barry Trotz. "They had a little more urgency."
Washington has now split the first two of a four-game road trip that ends in Pittsburgh on Tuesday and fell three points back of the New York Rangers for third place in the Metropolitan Division.
Holtby is tied for second in the league with 47 starts and has never before faced the Ducks. Backup Justin Peters is 1-0-1 versus them with a 1.85 goals against average and .940 save percentage.
Philipp Grubauer was recalled from the minors and got the start over Peters in a 3-2 shootout victory at home over the Ducks on Feb. 6, with Holtby getting a rare game off.
That win improved the Capitals to 6-1-1 in their past eight meetings with the Ducks and they have won four in a row in Anaheim. The Ducks have not beaten the Caps as the host since Dec. 11, 2002.
Anaheim returns home off a 2-2-1 road trip that concluded with a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. Francois Beauchemin and Matt Beleskey each scored in the second period, with the tallies coming not long after a fight between Anaheim's Tim Jackman and Tim Gleason of Carolina.
Head coach Bruce Boudreau credited the scrap with energizing the Ducks.
"A few minutes later we had two goals," Boudreau said. "So to me that was a real energy fight that turned the game around a little bit."
John Gibson ended with 35 saves and is likely to face the Capitals for the first time in his career tonight with No. 1 goaltender Frederik Andersen still out with a head injury.
Anaheim has an 11-point edge over San Jose for first place in the Pacific Division.