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7:30 PM PT8:30 PM MT9:30 PM CT10:30 PM ET3:30 GMT11:30 8:30 PM MST10:30 PM EST7:30 UAE (+1)22:30 ETNaN:� BRT, February 14, 2019
SAP Center at San Jose, San Jose, California  Attendance: 17,562

Streaking Sharks seek season sweep of Capitals

Washington Capitals at San Jose Sharks

  1. The Sharks and Capitals played a 13-goal thriller on January 22 in Washington, D.C. with San Jose tying the game with one second left in regulation and prevailing 7-6 in overtime. That marked the third time in Sharks' history they have tied a game with a second left and the first time they won the game (ties in 1999 and 1992).
  2. The Capitals were blanked by the Blue Jackets in Columbus on Tuesday, 3-0, the fourth time they have been shut out this season. Washington has been shut out three times in its last 11 games after being whitewashed just once in its first 46 games this season.
  3. The Sharks have won six straight after defeating the Canucks in Vancouver on Monday, 7-2. San Jose has allowed exactly two goals in each of their last five games after allowing exactly six goals in each of the previous four (1-3-0 record with the one win being the aforementioned 7-6 win over Washington).
  4. Alex Ovechkin leads the Capitals with 38 goals this season, 21 goals ahead of Jakub Vrana who is second on the team with 17. That 21-goal gap is the largest difference in the NHL between the player with the most goals on the team and second-most goals on the team.
  5. Evander Kane has seven points (5g, 2a) in his last three games. It is the first time in Kane's career he has reached five goals scored in a three-game span. It is the second such span for a Sharks skater this season (Joe Pavelski had five goals in a three-game span from November 13 to 17).
  6. Tomas Hertl and Alex Ovechkin each scored a hat trick in the January 22 meeting. That was the first time opponents recorded a hat trick in the same game since January 23, 2016 when Evgeni Malkin (Pit) and Jannik Hansen (Van) each potted three goals.
San Jose Sharks' Tomas Hertl, left, of the Czech Republic, and Evander Kane celebrate Hertl's goal against the Vancouver Canucks during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, in Vancouver, British Columbia. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

The San Jose Sharks might be the hottest team in the NHL right now, and that could be bad news for the up-and-down Washington Capitals.

The two teams meet on Thursday night, in the second stop of Washington's six-game road trip, while the Sharks come back to town after winning four games in Western Canada. San Jose (34-16-7) has now won six in a row, moving into the top spot in the Pacific Division and tying Winnipeg for first place in points in the Western Conference (75).

San Jose scored a 7-6 overtime victory over the Capitals when the two teams met in D.C. on Jan. 22, which began the current win streak.

The best news for the Sharks is that Erik Karlsson, sidelined for the past eight games due to a lower-body injury, was a full participant in Wednesday's practice. He has yet to be ruled out for the Capitals' game.

Coach Peter DeBoer told the media on Monday that the defenseman (a two-time Norris Trophy winner) was very close to returning to the lineup. Karlsson told The Mercury News on Wednesday his return is not a done deal yet, but it is drawing near.

"It's getting better every day, and it's nice to finally practice with the guys," Karlsson said. "It's been a long couple of weeks, and at the same time, the team was doing so well that it's made it a little bit easier for me."

In fact, Elias Sports and the Sharks said that San Jose's four-game sweep in Western Canada (Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver) was just the sixth time in NHL history a team pulled off that feat.

The most recent game was a 7-2 victory over Vancouver on Monday. In that contest, Joe Thornton earned career assist No. 1,050, which moved him into ninth place all-time in the NHL, passing Gordie Howe.

Thornton also tied Teemu Selanne for 15th on the league's all-time points list with 1,457.

The Capitals had been playing better on offense until their last game, a 3-0 loss in Columbus on Tuesday. Washington generated little on the attack, getting just seven shots overall in the first two periods as the Blue Jackets dominated. The final might have been worse if goalie Braden Holtby (29 saves on 31 shots) wasn't stellar in net.

Since the All-Star break, Washington is 4-2-1 but still having problems with minor penalties.

The Capitals now rank second in the NHL with 204 minor penalties -- Tampa Bay leads with 205 -- and had to kill off four more power plays in the Columbus loss. Washington coach Todd Reirden has harped on the issue often of late, but the penalties haven't waned.

The Capitals also looked worn down at times while playing their second game in two nights. They had beaten the Kings in Washington on Monday night.

"The early penalties in the first kind of took us out of our flow and our rhythm, and forced us to overuse guys," Todd Reirden said after the loss in Columbus. "And when you're in a back-to-back situation, then you need to play all four lines and get a little bit of a rhythm going. We just weren't able to establish that."

--Field Level Media

Updated February 14, 2019

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