Capitals await wounded Sharks

Capitals await wounded Sharks
January 13, 2014, 2:45 pm
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How Caps penalties create a snowball effect

News and notes as the Capitals [22-16-7, 51 points] enjoy a day off before facing the San Jose Sharks [28-12-6, 62 points] Tuesday night at VerizonCenter [7 p.m. CSN]:

Where they stand: The Rangers switched places with the Flyers with their 4-1 win over Philadelphia on Sunday night. That means the Caps and Rangers are tied with 51 points, while the Flyers are one back with 50.

Working overtime: Seventeen of the Caps’ 45 games this season have gone into overtimes or shootouts. That’s the most in the NHL. The Caps are 10-7 in those games, but have lost four in a row, two in overtime and two in shootouts.

Emergency Ward: Right wing Joel Ward picked up an assist in Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Sabres. extending his points streak to four games [1 goal, 3 assists]. That’s tied for the longest of his career. He’s had four-game points streaks three times. Ward ranks second among Washington skaters in goals [13], tied for fourth in power-play goals [4], fifth in points [27] and tied for sixth on the team in assists [14].

Next up: The Caps close out their three-game homestand Tuesday night against the Sharks, who are 1-2-0 since losing forward Logan Couture [14 goals,21 assists] to a hand injury. The Sharks are coming off a 1-0 home loss to the Bruins and play their next three games on the road.

RELATED: [Backstrom: 'Shame on us players']

Rough road: Following their home game on Tuesday the Caps play eight of their next nine games on the road, beginning with Wednesday night’s visit to Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center.

Shark bait: The Sharks practiced at VerizonCenter on Tuesday and here are some sound bites from them following their workout:

Patrick Marleau on the Caps: “The talent level they have is high. They have some superstars. We’ve got to be strong defensively. It doesn’t take much for them to get open and find those chances offensively and hopefully if we play well defensively we’ll be able to get our chances the other way.”

Joe Pavelski on the Caps: “They’re high scoring and fast and they have a lot of skill. You see all those highlights of [Alex] Ovechkin scoring so we understand we have to play a team game against them.”

Pavelski on trying to catch the first-place Ducks, who are 13 points ahead of the Sharks: “All the points are important, especially right now when you see some teams pulling away. We need to keep pace with them and get the points when you can and this road trip can go a long way for us.”

Joe Pavelski, a U.S. Olympian, on when he’ll have an audience with President Obama: “We’re going to have to win at the end if we want to get that. There’s a lot more work to be done.”

Defenseman Dan Boyle on stopping the Caps’ power play: “Everybody knows who Ovechkin is, but there’s more to them than that. They’ve got the best power play in the league and they love to play offense. Good power plays find a way. You can mimic it [at practice] all you want. Guys have to be in shooting lanes to block shots and get in shooting lanes.”

Coach Todd McLellan on the Sharks’ recent play: “Our team is trying right now to fight through an injury bug. We’ve got some players who are taking on more now than they normally would be, which is great experience for them. But we still have to fight our way through this and get things done.”