Chimera is expected to make his Capitals debut Wednesday night against the red-hot Sharks as Washington looks for its first win in San Jose since 1993.
Washington (24-9-6) leads the NHL with 142 goals and owns easily the largest division lead in the league. The Capitals got a little tougher prior to Monday’s 6-3 loss to Carolina, acquiring Chimera from Columbus for captain Chris Clark(notes) and defenseman Milan Jurcina(notes).
“We needed a guy that was a little more physical and plays with an edge,” coach Bruce Boudreau said of Chimera, who has more penalty minutes (47) than anyone on the Capitals’ roster. “He can be a really good energy guy.”
Washington defeated visiting San Jose 4-1 on Oct. 15 to snap an 11-game overall losing streak in this series. Two-time defending Hart Trophy winner Alex Ovechkin(notes) scored twice and Brendan Morrison(notes) and Mike Knuble(notes) had two assists apiece as the Capitals defeated the Sharks for the first time since 1999.
Washington will now strive to end another drought. The Capitals are 0-8-0 with a tie in San Jose since a 4-2 victory Oct. 30, 1993.
The Sharks routed the Caps 7-2 at home on Nov. 22 of last season. Ryan Clowe scored twice in that matchup while Joe Thornton(notes), Patrick Marleau(notes), Marc-Edouard Vlasic(notes) and Devin Setoguchi(notes) each added a goal and an assist.
Setoguchi scored his 10th goal of 2009-10 in Monday’s 3-2 shootout victory over Phoenix. He has two goals and two assists during San Jose’s five-game winning streak after going scoreless in his previous 10 games.
“It’s no secret (Devin) has been sent a message from the coaching staff,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said after his team improved to a Pacific Division-leading 24-8-7. “He needs to pick up his game. He played pretty well the other night against Anaheim (a 5-2 win on Saturday) but we didn’t think he deserved a promotion. This time he came and had a couple of good early shifts. Now it’s up to him. I don’t care where he plays but we need him to play.”
Thornton, who has an NHL-best 44 assists and leads San Jose with 54 points, had his seven-game point streak snapped Monday, but has nine goals and 15 assists in last 16 games versus the Capitals.
Marleau has scored five of his team-leading 25 goals during the Sharks’ current winning streak.
Dany Heatley(notes), second on the Sharks with 44 points, has two goals and five assists during the surge. Heatley has also found the back of the net seven times with 12 assists in his last 16 games against Washington.
Evgeni Nabokov(notes) has compiled a 1.77 GAA while starting each game of San Jose’s winning streak, and is expected to get the call again Wednesday. He made 32 saves in the Oct. 15 game in Washington, but suffered his first loss in nine career starts against the Capitals.
Washington’s Jose Theodore(notes) is 0-2-0 with a 4.07 GAA in his last two outings overall, but has won his last two starts in San Jose. Theodore made 12 saves in the Oct. 15 victory, but left after the first period due to back spasms.