WASHINGTON (SportsDirect Inc.) — The Washington Capitals are not taking their foot off the gas as the regular season draws to a close as they look to register a fifth consecutive victory when they host the Florida Panthers on Sunday.
The Capitals, who have clinched their second consecutive Presidents’ Trophy, have earned at least one point in 12 of their last 13 games (11-1-1) after posting a solid 3-1 win at Boston on Saturday.
“These games can be tough and we still have one to go, we’re focused on that,” Washington defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who scored for the second time in three games, told reporters on Saturday. “We just came out and made sure we continued what we were doing. That’s the most important thing.”
The Capitals have allowed just four goals during their winning streak and expect to have Braden Holtby in net for the finale after backup Philipp Grubauer made the start on Saturday.
The Panthers ended a six-game losing streak and avoided the possibility of finishing last in the Atlantic Division with Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Buffalo.
Veteran Jaromir Jagr notched a pair of assists in the win and can finish the season without missing a game for the first time since 2013-14 with New Jersey.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN Florida, CSN Mid-Atlantic (Washington)
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (34-36-11): Jonathan Huberdeau, who had managed just one point in his previous five games, scored a pair of goals in Saturday’s win and James Reimer made 30 saves. Vincent Trocheck was kept off the scoresheet in the home finale but leads the team with 54 points – two better than the injured Aleksander Barkov and three clear of Jonathan Marchessault (team-high 30 goals). Rookie defensemen MacKenzie Weegar and Ian McCoshen both played their second NHL game Saturday and likely will appear in one more.
ABOUT THE CAPITALS (55-18-8): Leading scorer Nicklas Backstrom is two points away from matching his second-most productive campaign in 2008-09, when he posted 88 points before registering a career-high 101 the following season. Captain Alex Ovechkin has notched a point in three straight contests but has been stuck on 33 goals for the last six games and remains tied with T.J. Oshie for the team lead. Defenseman John Carlson likely will miss his fourth straight game with an undisclosed injury and Brett Connolly (illness) sat out Saturday’s contest.
1. Washington veteran RW Justin Williams has recorded goals in back-to-back games to reach 24 – two better than his first season with the club in 2015-16.
2. Florida C Nick Bjugstad notched just his second goal in the last 21 games Saturday.
3. The Capitals have won both meetings this season by a 4-2 score after the Panthers went 2-0-1 against them in 2015-16.
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