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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, December 23rd (All times Eastern)
Anaheim Ducks (26-7-5) at Washington Capitals (19-13-4), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Bruce Boudreau is back in D.C. for the first time since being fired by the Washington Capitals, and the talkative head coach brings a red-hot Anaheim Ducks team with him for Monday's battle at the Verizon Center.
Boudreau had a record of 201-88-40 for Washington in the regular season from 2007-12, reaching the 200-win plateau faster than any coach in modern NHL history. However, the Capitals managed only a 17-20 mark in the playoffs under Boudreau and he was fired after 22 games of the 2011-12 season before being hired three days later by the Ducks.
Since taking over the head coaching reins in Anaheim on Nov. 20, 2011, Boudreau has led the Ducks to an 83-42-19 record in the regular season. The Ducks won the Pacific Division title in last year's lockout-shortened campaign, but fell in seven games in the opening round against seventh-seeded Detroit.
Currently, Boudreau has the Ducks leading the Pacific once again, as the club is 26-7-5 on the season and enters Monday's tilt riding a club-record eight- game winning streak.
The most recent triumph came Saturday on Long Island, as the Ducks rallied for a 5-3 road win against the New York Islanders. Down 3-1 after two periods, Anaheim scored four unanswered goals in the final stanza to win going away.
Kyle Palmieri potted the game-winner as part of the four-goal third period and Ryan Getzlaf recorded a hat trick to lead the Ducks offense. Mathieu Perreault added a goal and Frederik Andersen stopped 18 shots for the Ducks, who also set the mark for the longest winning streak in the NHL this season with their eight consecutive victory.
The Ducks also are 9-0-2 over their last 11 games and have won five straight on the road to push their away record this season to 13-7-3.
Current Washington head coach Adam Oates will try to get his team back on track after the Caps blew a pair of two-goal leads in Saturday's 5-4 home loss against the New Jersey Devils.
The Capitals held leads of 3-1 and 4-2 over New Jersey, but allowed the Devils to tie the game with two unanswered goals in the last 10:39 of regulation before Andy Greene notched the game-winner 43 seconds into overtime. Dainius Zubrus had tied the game at 4-4 for the Devils with 8:13 left in the third.
On the deciding goal, Jaromir Jagr ripped a shot from the high slot that Braden Holtby sticked away, but Greene got his shaft on the disc and deflected it into the back of the net out of mid air to send New Jersey to victory.
Joel Ward registered a goal and an assist in the loss, while Alex Ovechkin and Jason Chimera potted a marker apiece for the Capitals, who have lost two of three and three of their last five games. Holtby stopped 32 shots in the setback.
"They are a relentless team," Washington head coach Adam Oates said of the Devils. "They kept coming. We made a couple mistakes."
The Caps, who are 12-7-1 in D.C. this season, are playing the middle test of a three-game homestand tonight and will close the residency Friday against the New York Rangers.
Washington notched a 5-4 overtime win against a visiting Ducks team in the last meeting between the teams on Nov. 1, 2011, a few weeks before Boudreau was fired. The Caps have won two straight and four of the last five meetings in this series and Anaheim has dropped two of three in D.C.
12/23 10:51:54 ET
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