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AAA Keys to the Game: Capitals vs. Ducks

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AAA Keys to the Game: Capitals vs. Ducks

The Capitals (48-13-4, 100 points) begin a three-game California road trip tonight in Anaheim, where they’ll face the Ducks (37-19-8, 82 points). You can watch the game on CSN beginning with Pregame Live at 9:30. Here are our AAA Keys to the Game:

Who’s in goal for the Caps: Braden Holtby (40-8-3, 2.24, .922) returns to the nets for the Caps after serving as a backup to Philipp Grubauer in Saturday night’s 2-1 win in Boston. Holtby is eight wins away from tying Marty Brodeur’s NHL record of 48 victories.

Who’s in goal for the Ducks: John Gibson (16-8-2, 2.09, .918) is expected to start for the Ducks. Coach Bruce Boudreau has been rotating Gibson and Frederik Andersen for the past three weeks, giving each two starts in a row.

Weber in, Chorney out: Mike Weber, who sat out Saturday night’s game in favor of Nate Schmidt, is expected to return to the lineup in place of Taylor Chorney. Weber is expected to be paired with Schmidt.

Special teams: The Caps and Ducks are tied for first in the NHL on the power play (23.8 percent). The Caps rank tied for fourth on the penalty kill (84.5), while the Ducks rank third (86.2).

Scoring trends: The Caps have been outscored by their opponents  49-48 in first periods this season but have outscored their opponents 156-97 in the second and third periods. The Ducks have outscored their opponents 53-32 in the first period but have been outscored 64-46 in the second period.

All their quaked up to be: The Ducks have won a franchise-record 11 consecutive games and are 12-0-1 in their last 13. Both are the longest streaks in the NHL this season. The Ducks are also 18-1-1 in their last 20 games since Jan. 20. Since Christmas the Ducks are 25-4-2 for the best record in the NHL.

More on Gibson: Rookie goalie John Gibson currently ranks second among NHL goaltenders in GAA (2.09) and tied for fifth in shutouts (4) this season. Gibson also currently owns a career-tying four-game winning streak (4-0-0).

Iron man: Ducks left wing Andrew Cogliano is the NHL's reigning iron man (686 games) and owns the sixth-longest iron man streak in NHL history. He has never missed a game in his NHL career dating to Oct. 4, 2007 with Edmonton. Only Doug Jarvis has played more consecutive games to start his career.

Century mark: The Capitals are the 10th team in NHL history to reach the 100-point plateau in 65 games or less and the first team to do so since the 2001-02 Detroit Red
Wings (65 games). This is the fastest the Caps have reached 100 points in franchise history (previous: 2009-10, 69 games).

Road trippin’: The Caps are 22-7-2 on the road this season, ranking first in the NHL in road point percentage (.742) and second in road wins (22) and road points (46). Washington’s 22 road wins are tied for the most road victories through a team’s first 31 road games in NHL history. In addition, Washington has earned a point in 20 of its last 25 road games (18-5-2).

Tight nights: The Caps have played in 10 straight one-goal games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this marks the longest streak of games decided by one goal to end in regulation or overtime in NHL history. The Caps are 7-3-0 during this stretch and are 24-6-4 in one-goal games this season.

CAPITALS

Forward lines

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie

Andre Burakovsky - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams

Jason Chimera - Marcus Johansson - Tom Wilson

Daniel Winnik - Mike Richards - Jay Beagle

Defense pairs

Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik - Dmitry Orlov

Mike Weber - Nate Schmidt

Goaltenders

Braden Holtby (starter) - Philipp Grubauer

Injured: John Carlson (lower-body)

Scratched: Taylor ChorneyStanislav GalievMichael Latta 

DUCKS

Forward lines

David Perron - Ryan Getzlaf - Nick Ritchie

Jamie McGinn - Rickard Rakell - Corey Perry

Andrew Cogliano - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg

Ryan Garbutt - Nate Thompson - Mike Santorelli

Defense pairs

Cam Fowler - Kevin Bieksa

Hampus Lindholm - Josh Manson

Simon Despres - Sami Vatanen

Goaltenders

John Gibson (starters) - Frederik Andersen

Injured: Chris Stewart (jaw), Brandon Pirri (ankle)

Scratched: Clayton StonerKorbinian Holzer

MORE CAPITALS: Boudreau: 'Offense is great, but defense wins'

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Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal

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Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal

Defenseman Jakub Jerabek is really happy about the opportunity to play with the Washington Capitals, but it could have come at a better time. The trade came with his parents already on their way from the Czech Republic to visit him.

“It was crazy days past three days because I had my parents on the way to Montreal and they didn't know so it was a big surprise for them,” Jerabek told reporters Saturday after his first skate with the team.

A native of the Czech Republic, Jerabek signed his first NHL contract with the Montreal Canadiens in May 2017. After spending some time in the AHL and struggling to consistently earn a spot in the Canadiens’ lineup, he knew a trade was possible.

“My family, maybe we expected some trade. When its come with Caps and it was Washington, I was really happy.”

RELATED: TRADE DEADLINE STORY TIME WITH ALAN MAY

Jerabek said he came into the NHL with no expectations and was simply happy for the opportunity, but it is fair to wonder if he was not just the least bit frustrated with how he was utilized by Montreal.

For a player with experience playing for the national team, the Czech league and the KHL, getting only 25 games with a bad Montreal team seems a bit low.

“In first two weeks, I didn't know what's going on because the coaches just told me that I played well, but we just make some competition between the [defensemen] and that I have to wait for my next chance,” Jerabek said. “It was hard, but now I'm happy down here.”

Washington now offers a very different opportunity. In need of help on the blue line, Jeraebek has the chance to earn consistent playing time for a team on pace to reach the postseason.

Jerabek will not play in Saturday’s game against Buffalo, but he was hopeful he would be in the lineup for Monday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

MORE CAPITALS: IS IT TIME FOR GRUBAUER TO START IN PLACE OF HOLTBY?

For now, Jerabek and head coach Barry Trotz are unclear as to what his ultimate role on the team will be. With eight defensemen now on the roster, Trotz cautioned any lineup decision could not be rushed because of the trickle-down effect it will have on the other players.

“You always look at chemistry and all that with your group depending how high that player goes up the lineup, it affects different people,” Trotz said. “In a forward group, if you get a guy that you all of a sudden stick on the first line, there's four other guys that are bumped down and one guy's bumped out.”

The addition of Jerabek, however, offers the Caps another defenseman who can quickly move the puck out of the defensive zone, something the team has struggled with immensely throughout the season. Though he shoots left, he also said he is comfortable playing on the right said and has played there regularly over the past few years. That provides the lineup with some flexibility on the third pair behind Matt Niskanen and John Carlson.

As for Jerabek’s parents, they will be arriving in Washington on Saturday.

“I tried to figure out the situation with them to get them to here and they will come today,” he said. “So I'm really happy.”

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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Sabres will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Sabres game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals (34-20-7) take on the Sabres (18-32-11) Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Capital One Arena.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME ON?

The Capitals-Sabres game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Sabres
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Sabres game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Brett Connolly - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Chandler Stephenson - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Devante Smith-Pelly - Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Defensemen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Michal Kempny

Philipp Grubauer starts with Braden Holtby as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

CAPITALS-SABRES OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.