A Golden State of Mind: Looking at the Caps’ California Road Trip

Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images

With the Stadium Series game having come and gone and Washington remaining undefeated in outdoor games, the Capitals now turn their attention to their upcoming annual California road trip, with games against the Anaheim Ducks, the Los Angeles Kings, and the San Jose Sharks. 

The first stop is Tuesday night in Anaheim (10pm Eastern Standard Time). But before the Capitals take to the ice for the first time in the three-game road trip to face the Ducks, we’re going to take a look at how the Capitals have fared against the golden state’s teams in the past, and how those teams are doing this season.

Anaheim Ducks
As previously mentioned, Tuesday night’s game pits the Washington Capitals against the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks are having a back-and-forth season so far this year, and despite being in third place in the Pacific Division, as of now they are not guaranteed a spot in the playoffs.

With less than a third of the season remaining before the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin, every point earned becomes increasingly more and more crucial. You can safely assume that with the race for a playoff spot heating up the way it is, the Ducks are not going to lie down and let Washington pass them by.

One Ducks player who’s been successful this season is their starting goaltender, John Gibson. Gibson has played 48 games this season to the tune of 24-15-6, with one shutout.

Washington has a franchise record of 18-15-2 against Anaheim.

Los Angeles Kings
After what will no doubt be an exciting night in Anaheim, the Caps will turn their attention to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday at 10:30pm. Having a similarly up and down season like the Ducks before them, the Kings have a current record of 36-25-5, and are currently one point behind the Ducks in the standings, earning them a Western Conference wildcard spot for the moment.

One player the Caps will have to look out for is the Kings’ Captain, Anze Kopitar. While his numbers trail those of Captain Ovechkin’s by a bit, Kopitar is still a force to be reckoned with. He leads Los Angeles in both goals (27) and assists (44).

The Capitals’ all time record against the Kings is 50-56-3.

San Jose Sharks
And Finally, on Saturday the 10th, the Caps will dive into the Shark Tank in San Jose as they look to steal some zeal from the team in teal. The San Jose Sharks proudly sit in second place in the Pacific Division, with only the Las Vegas Golden Knights having a better record than them in the division this season. But they’re not ready to take their foot off the gas just yet, with Anaheim and Los Angeles’ teams looming right behind them, the Capitals will have to prepare themselves for what could be the most difficult game of this road trip.

One player in particular they’ll need to watch out for is Brent Burns. The bearded defenseman has a total of 52 points this season, 10 of which are goals of his own. Burns is excellent at setting up his teammates so everyone on the ice should be working together to keep the puck out of his reach.

Historically, the Washington Capitals haven’t fared well against the San Jose Sharks, having a track record of 13-24-3.

It is noteworthy to mention that Washington returned from last season’s California road trip having not earned a single point. Additionally, Capitals forward No.25 Devante Smith-Pelly was ruled as “possible” for tomorrow night’s game in Anaheim. DSP left the ice at practice Monday with a lower body aggravation before the team left for California. If DSP is not able to play against the Ducks, it is more than likely that he will be replaced by Alex Chiasson, or by recently called up Hershey Bear Travis Boyd.

By: Chris Laroche

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3 Responses to A Golden State of Mind: Looking at the Caps’ California Road Trip

  1. Pingback: News and Notes from Tuesday’s Capitals Morning Skate in Anaheim: Update on Devante Smith-Pelly | NoVa Caps

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