The NHL-leading Washington Capitals (44-14-7) head to California to play the first of three games on the West Coast against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday (10:30 PM ET on CSN). Ranking first overall in team defense (2.03 goals allowed per game) and third in team offense (3.27 goals scored per game), the Caps have been a picture of consistency through the first 65 games of 2016-17. Led by centre Nicklas Backstrom (21 goals, 46 assists) and right winger Alex Ovechkin (27 goals, 28 assists), the Capitals will look to continue their offensive dominance and capture two points against the Sharks on the road.
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The San Jose Sharks (39-19-7) will play in the third of an eight-game home stand on Thursday. Coming off of a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets, the Sharks will be in tough against the Stanley Cup favourites. The NHL’s top offensive defenseman, Brent Burns (27 goals, 40 assists), will be relied upon to pace the Sharks’ offense in what will surely be a high-scoring affair. Goaltender Martin Jones (2.28 goals against, .915 save percentage) will be back in net after getting the night off on Tuesday and will face a hungry Capitals team looking to fortify their spot atop the league.
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