It only makes sense that the Washington Capitals have been bitten at an arena affectionately known as the "Shark Tank." It's been almost two decades since the Caps have left HP Pavilion unscathed, but with a four-game winning streak on their side, they hope to continue that streak while ending another against the San Jose Sharks Saturday.
The Caps, entering Saturday with a four-game winning streak, will have to end an almost 20-year drought in San Jose in order to make it five. Since October 30, 1993, Washington is 0-10-1 at HP Pavilion. To put that into perspective, head coach Dale Hunter was a member of that Washington team, but was serving his 21-game suspension for his late hit on the New York Islanders' Pierre Turgeon.
The Sharks won't make it easy, having won seven of nine entering Saturday. San Jose boasts a lineup that, like the Caps, receives production from everywhere. Joe Thornton leads the team with 32 points (24 assists); Patrick Marleau, Logan Coutore and Joe Pavelski all have at least 14 goals; third-line winger Jamie McGinn has eight goals.
The status of Washington's leading scorer, Nicklas Backstrom, is uncertain. Backstrom practiced Thursday and Friday after receiving an elbow to the head from the Calgary Flames' Rene Bourque Tuesday and said that he's "ready to go." That decision, however, is obviously up to Hunter, who agreed with Backstrom's sentiment, saying that "he looks good."