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Sharks-Capitals Preview

The San Jose Sharks own a run of dominance over the Washington Capitals that goes back 15 years.

The Sharks, winners of 16 of the last 17 meetings, face Washington on Tuesday night to open a three-game trip.

San Jose (28-12-6) has taken five straight in the series since a 4-1 defeat Oct. 15, 2009. The Sharks captured the previous 11 meetings, and only one of the last 17 has gone past regulation in a stretch that began during the 1999-2000 season.

Alex Ovechkin scored twice in the Capitals' lone victory in that span, but he's totaled two goals and two assists in his other eight matchups with San Jose.

Ovechkin leads the NHL with 32 goals while the Sharks feature the league's assist leader in Joe Thornton, who has 45.

Ovechkin has scored 22 goals at home, but he and Nicklas Backstrom had four-game point streaks snapped in Sunday's 2-1 shootout loss to visiting Buffalo.

The Capitals (22-16-7) were seeking a third straight win after one-goal victories Thursday and Friday.

"I think the guys are a little tired, they looked tired to me," coach Adam Oates said. "I don't think we had the energy we should. Two emotional games that we had and I thought defending, we were a little tired."

Washington is 0 for 6 on the power play in the first two games of this three-game homestand. The Capitals came up empty in two chances Sunday, but rank second in the NHL at 25.2 percent with the man advantage.

"I think we had two power plays today and we didn't do nothing and there's blame on us," Ovechkin said. "It's over so we just have to regroup ourselves and be ready for the next game."

San Jose failed to score for the first time in a 1-0 home loss to Boston on Saturday. The Bruins' goal came with 7:35 left.

"It was tight from the very beginning all the way to the end," coach Todd McLellan said. "There was playoff-type checking. The top two lines neutralized each other and it came down to puck luck and the bounce went to their skate. There's nothing to hang our heads over."

The Sharks have dropped two of three without forward Logan Couture, who will have surgery for an upper-body injury. He's tied for fourth on the team with 14 goals.

Thornton has 14 assists over his last 11 games, and has recorded 30 points in his last 21 contests against the Capitals.

Antti Niemi made 21 saves Saturday but is 2-3-0 with a 2.77 goals-against average in his last six starts. McLellan remains confident in his top goalie.

"He hasn't been that bad," McLellan said. "From our perspective, there's some goals we'd like to have back. I think from your perspective, you'd like to fill a little bit more of the paper up with some ink and write some stories so we go digging. Nemo's been fine."

Washington's last eight home games have been decided by one goal, with five going to overtime.

Updated January 13, 2014

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