The Washington Capitals have dropped back-to-back games setting start to the season, but still have a perfect home record to brag about.
The Capitals will put their 5-0-0 mark as the host on the line tonight versus the Anaheim Ducks at the Verizon Center and look to put a pair of road losses in the past. They are 7-2-0 overall following setbacks in Edmonton and Vancouver, and recently suffered a 7-4 loss to the Canucks on Saturday.
Tomas Vokoun started in net for the Caps and allowed three goals on 17 shots before being pulled for Michal Neuvirth after the first period. Neuvirth made 22 saves and allowed three goals in the decisive third stanza. Alex Ovechkin scored twice and Nicklas Backstrom notched two assists for Washington, which fell to 1-5-1 in the last seven visits to British Columbia.
"They made a push in the third and we didn't match it," Capitals defenseman Dennis Wideman said of the Canucks.
Ovechkin continued to shine in games played in Canada and owns 31 goals north of the border. Vokoun is expected to start tonight and is tied with former Capitals netminder Don Beaupre for 37th place on the NHL's all-time wins list among goaltenders (268). He is 5-1 with a 1.73 GAA and a .947 save percentage in his last seven games and had given up just two or fewer goals in six consecutive contests before facing Vancouver.
Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau is four wins short of 200 in his career. Caps defenseman Dennis Wideman has points in eight of the team's nine games this season, while Washington's blueliners have posted seven goals and 17 assists over that stretch.
Anaheim has lost two in a row and five of six games since a four-game winning streak, and will resume a 13-day, seven-game road trip tonight in DC.
The Ducks fell to 5-5-1 on the season after a 3-1 loss at Columbus on Sunday, as Dan Ellis stopped 18-of-21 shots in net and Bobby Ryan posted the lone goal. Anaheim is 1-2-1 so far on the trek and 1-4-1 since prevailing four straight times from Oct. 8-17.
"We had some very good chances, but we didn't find a way to get it across the line," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle told the team's site. "Does that come back to net presence? Are we establishing the shot enough? Are we recovering the puck off of missed opportunities? Are we good on faceoffs? All those things play into it. So, collectively we're looking at improving in all those areas."
The Ducks, who are 2-3-1 away from home, have managed four goals in their last three games and will also visit the Rangers and Red Wings on the trek. Forward Corey Perry has seven points in his last eight games and veteran right wing Teemu Selanne owns points in four of his previous five games (1g, 6a).
Anaheim center Ryan Getzlaf needs eight more assists for 300 in his career and has five points in his past six contests.
Washington and Anaheim split a pair of matchups a season ago. Since Ovechkin's rookie year in 2005-06, the Capitals are 4-1-1 in their last six meetings with the Ducks. The Russian superstar has six goals and seven assists in that time.