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Capitals-Kings Preview

AP - Sports

The Washington Capitals are tied for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Facing the Los Angeles Kings twice in six days may not help their cause.

The Capitals try to continue their recent surge by beating the Kings on the road for the first time since 2005 on Thursday night.

Washington (33-27-10) followed a 1-4-1 stretch with a three-game winning streak, moving into a tie with Columbus for the East's second wild-card spot with 12 games left.

"We can't worry about anything else that's going to happen except for our games," goaltender Jaroslav Halak said. "Right now, two points are all huge, any way we can get them."

The Capitals haven't done that in Los Angeles since a win on Dec. 14, 2005, giving up 12 goals while losing three straight visits. Their 5-2 loss at Staples Center on Jan. 9, 2012, was their fifth straight defeat in the series.

Washington, though, enters this matchup scoring 11 goals in three games while never trailing in any of them. Alex Ovechkin broke a deadlock early in the third period of the Capitals' 3-2 win at Anaheim on Tuesday.

"That was a huge game," said Ovechkin, who leads the NHL with 46 goals. "We prepared for it, and we were ready for it. We played one of the best teams in the league."

Ovechkin has two goals in three games after scoring once over the previous six. The reigning Hart Trophy winner has failed to find the net in four career games at Los Angeles and hasn't registered a point in the last two.

Joel Ward hasn't scored in seven straight meetings. However, he has a goal in three straight games, putting him on the cusp of his longest career scoring streak.

The Kings (38-25-6) are trying to continue their success against the Capitals in order to snap their three-game slide. Coach Darryl Sutter is looking for more urgency after they allowed two goals in the third period of a 4-3 loss to Phoenix on Monday.

"I think we could have been a little bit more desperate on the two goals they scored, in terms of making plays in our own zone," said Sutter, who again seeks his 500th victory. "That is back-to-back games where we have made basic checking mistakes in our own zone.

"We need some more out of our top guys."

Marian Gaborik, acquired earlier this month in a trade with Columbus, is doing his part offensively. The right wing has two goals and one assist in three games after finding the net Monday.

He has no goals over his past eight regular-season matchups with Washington.

Dustin Brown is expected to be back after missing two games with an illness. The captain has six points over his last eight games, with seven ending in Los Angeles victories.

Brown has one goal and two assists in three home games versus Washington.

Jonathan Quick is likely to be back in net trying to tie Rogie Vachon's franchise record of 171 wins. He's failed in his two previous attempts, giving up seven goals on 56 shots following a personal six-game winning streak, during which he compiled a 0.99 goals-against average.

Quick has won both of his career meetings with the Capitals behind a 2.50 GAA.

These teams will conclude their season series in Washington on Tuesday.

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