Sharks Vs. Capitals: Caps Return Home, Hope To Stay Afloat Against Sharks

SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 07: Marcus Johansson #90 of the Washington Capitals moves the puck past Benn Ferriero #78 of the San Jose Sharks at the HP Pavilion at San Jose on January 7, 2012 in San Jose, California. The Sharks defeated the Capitals 5-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Caps have been treading water lately. Having the Sharks at Verizon Center only makes those waters more dangerous as the Caps look to gain ground in the Southeast Division and Eastern Conference.

The Washington Capitals have been treading water lately, doing their best to stay afloat in the Southeast Division and Eastern Conference. Monday, those waters become a bit more deadly as the San Jose Sharks visit Verizon Center.

Sunday, the Caps lost to the New York Rangers 3-2, their fifth loss in seven games. The loss, combined with the Florida Panthers' win over the New York Islanders, has Washington four points behind Florida in the Southeast Division, which puts them in ninth place in the East.

Meanwhile, the Sharks are also coming off a loss Sunday as they suffered a 3-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues in the opening game of a nine-game road trip. Fortunately, the Sharks have had great success on the road against the Caps; since defeating the Sharks at home in February 1999, the Caps are 1-5-1 at home since, with the one win coming October 15, 2009.

Michal Neuvirth started in goal for the Caps Sunday, so Tomas Vokoun should return to the net Monday. Antti Niemi started for the Sharks Sunday; he is backed up by Thomas Greiss.

This is the second meeting between Washington and San Jose this season; the Sharks defeated the Caps 5-2 January 7.

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