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Canucks game day: Looking to avoid three straight losses for the first time this season against Ovi and the Capitals

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
15 days ago
The Vancouver Canucks (34-12-6) will look to avoid their first three game losing skid of the season when they face the Washington Capitals (23-20-7) on Sunday at Capital One Arena.
The Canucks let a 3-1 third period lead slip away and fell 4-3 in overtime in Detroit on Saturday. Defenceman Jake Walman beat Casey DeSmith on a penalty shot just 23 seconds into OT. Elias Pettersson and Filip Hronek each had a goal and two assists while Nils Höglander had Vancouver’s other goal.
The Canucks are now 1-1-1 through the first three games of their five-game road trip. The team is 2-1-2 in its last five games with just one regulation victory over that span. After getting shut out 4-0 in Boston on Thursday, the loss in Detroit meant the Canucks had suffered back to back defeats for just the third time all season and the first time since mid-November.
The Canucks will likely turn to starter Thatcher Demko on Sunday after he served as the back-up against the Red Wings. Demko suffered his first loss since January 2nd on Thursday in Boston ending a personal win streak of nine straight games. He is 15-2-1 in his last 18 starts.
Defenceman Nikita Zadorov was assessed a match penalty early in the second period for a check to the head of Detroit’s Lucas Raymond. He had a hearing with the league on Saturday evening and has been suspended for a pair of games. Mark Friedman will draw in on defence and will play his first NHL game since November 30th against Vegas — the day Zadorov was acquired from Calgary. With Zadorov suspended and Carson Soucy injured, the Canucks will have two left-handed defencemen in the line-up and four right-handers.
JT Miller smashed his previous season high with eight shots on goal on Saturday. His old mark was five in Florida in October. Miller had eight shots on 12 attempts while linemate Brock Boeser was credited with three shots on eight attempts. Miller matched Boeser’s team high for shots in a game this season established on opening night when he scored four times against Edmonton.
The Canucks will be facing a Washington team that snapped a six-game losing skid with an impressive 3-0 win in Boston on Saturday. TJ Oshie opened the scoring on a second period power play and Dylan Strome added his team-leading 20th goal of the season in the third. Alex Ovechkin sealed the victory into an empty net.
After a tough start, Ovechkin has now scored in four straight games and is up to a dozen on the season. That gives him 834 for his career. He is now 60 goals from tying Wayne Gretzky’s all-time mark of 894. The Great 8 will appear in his 1395th NHL regular season game today and reach the 1400-game milestone next week.
Charlie Lindgren made 18 saves for the shutout on Saturday. With the quick turnaround, Darcy Kuemper is the likely starter on Sunday after serving as the back-up in Boston. Kuemper’s last win was a 2-0 shutout over Anaheim on January 18th. He is 11-12-2 on the season with a 3.18 GAA and an .894 save percentage.
Only Chicago and San Jose struggle to generate offence more than the Capitals do. Washington is 30th in both total goals scored (118) and goals per game (2.37). The Caps have five skaters – and just four forwards – with more than 20 points this season.
Former Canuck Ethan Bear has appeared in 14 games for the Capitals since recovering from shoulder surgery and signing a two-year deal. He logged 11:48 in the win over the Bruins – his low-ice time of the season so far.
The Capitals are six points back of Tampa Bay for the final playoff spot in the East. They have two games in hand on the Lightning, but they also have three other teams between them and the playoff bar so they have their work cut out for them.
Washington will visit Vancouver next month to conclude the season series. They will be at Rogers Arena on Saturday March 16th which will be the third game of the Canucks season-high nine game homestand.

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