Washington Capitals

Video: The San Jose Sharks honored Evgeni Nabokov prior to puck drop tonight

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Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, who announced his retirement from the game on Wednesday, dropped the puck in a ceremonial face-off prior to the Caps-Sharks game tonight at the SAP Center.

The 39-year-old is San Jose’s all-time leader in games played by a goaltender (430) and wins (293).

WATCH LIVE: Capitals at Sharks (10:30 p.m. ET)

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The Washington Capitals will look to get back into the win column Wednesday night when they visit the San Jose Sharks in the second game of the double-header on NBCSN.

The Caps had their three-game winning streak snapped Sunday night in Philadelphia.

San Jose enters the game looking to avoid a third straight loss. The Sharks have lost back-to-back games and four of five.

Tonight marks the second and final meeting between the two clubs. San Jose won the last meting 6-5 in a shootout on Oct. 14.

Puck drop is at 10:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can also stream it on NBC Sports Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are some related links:

NHL on NBCSN: Sharks strive to break slump against Capitals

Caps facing ‘big’ trip against teams that ‘can blow us out of the water’

Video: Emotional Nabokov ‘happy I will retire as a Shark’

Caps facing ‘big’ trip against teams that ‘can blow us out of the water’

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Here’s what’s facing the Washington Capitals as they hit the road for a four-game trip:

Tonight, they’re in San Jose to play a capable Sharks team that’s lost two straight at home, and can’t be feeling too happy about it.

Saturday, they’re in Los Angeles to play a desperate Kings side that, struggles aside, has managed to go 16-6-6 at Staples Center.

Sunday, they’re in Anaheim to play the Pacific Division-leading Ducks in a game that starts just 22 hours after the Kings game starts.

Tuesday, they finish the trip in Pittsburgh, where the Penguins will be looking to avenge the two shutouts they’ve suffered to the Caps already this season.

Now, sure, you could look at it with a tad more optimism from a Capitals perspective. Like, the Sharks have been terribly inconsistent at home, the Kings have struggled because they’re not as good as they were last season, the Ducks are winless in three and not as good as their record indicates anyway, and the Penguins have been shut out twice by the Caps because the Caps play well against the Pens.

Regardless, Caps defenseman Matt Niskanen is calling it a “big” trip.

“We don’t want to stall out here,” he said, per CSN Washington. “We’ve been kind of up and down for the last little while and it would nice to get some steady play.

“We’re going into some tough buildings and playing some tough games on this trip, so it won’t be an easy one. I think they have our attention because if we’re not sharp those teams can blow us out of the water.”

Tonight’s game against the Sharks can be seen on NBCSN.

NHL on NBCSN: Sharks strive to break slump against Capitals

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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign with Wednesday’s second game as the San Jose Sharks host the Washington Capitals at the SAP Center at 10:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

The month of February simply hasn’t started off well for the San Jose Sharks, who host the Washington Capitals on NBCSN tonight.

Slumping Sharks

Beginning with a shootout loss against the Edmonton Oilers, the Sharks have dropped four of five games to begin this month, including two straight losses at home. If Washington continues this trend, San Jose will squander a brief-but-key three-game homestand.

At this point, the Sharks have to know that just about every stretch means something. Losing to the Calgary Flames on Monday bumped them down to third in the Pacific Division. When you consider games in hand and other factors, San Jose’s not as far above the Western Conference bubble as the Sharks may seem, either.

That’s not to say that the Sharks have all the motivation by any means.

If the Capitals aren’t careful, they could face similar problems when it comes to bubble teams being closer than they seem. Washington seems to have shaken off a frustrating run of losses to end January, but they’re beginning a very challenging four-game road trip in San Jose on Wednesday.

The two teams played an early regular season game on Oct. 14 as the Sharks edged the Capitals 6-5 via a shootout. While they aren’t particularly familiar opponents, there’s plenty of talent to go around with the Sharks’ slew of forwards (Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Patrick Marleau) going up against Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Washington’s expensive defensive corps.

If we get Braden Holtby vs. Antti Niemi in net, we’ll get to see a match between two goalies hoping to earn big contracts after this season.

We don’t see the Capitals face the Sharks very often, but it could be an entertaining match to close out Wednesday’s back-to-back set of NBCSN games.

(Check out this preview of the Detroit Red Wings – Pittsburgh Penguins game here.)

Alex Ovechkin’s All-Star car to be raffled off to benefit special hockey

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We now know why Alex Ovechkin wanted a car so badly during All-Star weekend last month.

Ovechkin’s new car will now be raffled off by the American Special Hockey Association, which was created in 2000 for players with developmental disabilities. The idea for raffling off the car came after the 29-year-old Ovechkin met 10-year-old Ann Schaab of the Washington Ice Dogs, one of the local special hockey teams, back in September.

“People were wondering why I wanted to win a car,” Ovechkin said, as per the ASHA. “It wasn’t for me – I wanted to support Ann and her teammates. When Honda connected with my agent and found out why I wanted it, they gave me the car.”

Ovechkin caused plenty of good laughs during the All-Star draft, two days before the game, when he lobbied to be the last overall selection, which would’ve earned him a new Honda.

He was taken late in the draft, but not at the end, though he never initially told anyone why he wanted the car or what his intention was.

“We are incredibly grateful to Alex,” said Mike Hickey, president of ASHA.

“Our motto is ‘where every player is a star.’ Alex is a truly a star, and through his generosity, he’s giving a lot of children a chance to shine.”