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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, October 29th (All times eastern)

Washington Capitals (7-1-0) at Vancouver Canucks (4-5-1), 10 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals knew they weren't going to go 82-0 this season. That doesn't mean they don't want to improve on some things that led to their first loss of the season.

The Capitals aim for just their second victory at Vancouver in over 13 years this evening as they battle the struggling Canucks.

Washington got off to a quick start in 2011-12, winning its first seven games of the season for the best start in franchise history. The Capitals saw that run end on Thursday in Edmonton with a 2-1 setback.

Defenseman Karl Alzner gave his club an early lead 5:36 into the game, but the Oilers countered with a pair of power-play goals. The Capitals had trouble getting going in the game as they were shorthanded eight times.

"We started the game well," said forward Alex Ovechkin. "We had the momentum, but then we took too many penalties. The penalty guys did a great job, but again, if you have so many opportunities on the power play, you have to score."

Tomas Vokoun won his first six starts with the Capitals are signing with the club in the offseason before making 17 saves in the loss.

The defeat was Washington's eighth in its past nine trips to Edmonton and it has had similar struggles in Vancouver. The Canucks are 5-0-1 in the Caps' last six trips to the city and haven't lost in regulation to the club at home since March 28, 1998.

Vancouver won 4-2 in Washington last year and has also won seven of the past eight meetings overall.

The Canucks will look to get things jump started versus the Capitals after losing both ends of back-to-back games against the Oilers and Blues. Following a one-goal loss in Edmonton, Vancouver returned home and was shut out by St. Louis, 3-0.

It marked the eighth time in 10 games this year that the Canucks have allowed the first goal and they were unable to get on the board despite outshooting the Blues 17-6 in the third.

"We've got to start scoring goals here, get some dirty ones," Vancouver's Henrik Sedin said. "We're getting enough shots to score some goals, we're putting our goalies in a bad spot when they need to make every save in the game to keep us in it. It's up to us in here to get a little grittier in front of their net and get some dirty ones."

Roberto Luongo stared the loss to the Oilers on Tuesday, but was pulled after giving up three quick goals early in the second. Cory Schneider relieved him and then got the start on Wednesday. He made 28 saves in his fourth start of the season.

"I felt pretty good, but the second goal was a back-breaker for our game," said Schneider. "It seemed to suck the wind out of our sails. It was frustrating for me not to keep our team closer."

After helping get the Canucks to within a game of a Stanley Cup title last year, Luongo is 2-3-1 with a 3.45 goals-against average and .868 save percentage on the season.

Vancouver begins a six-game road trip on Tuesday in Calgary.

10/29 10:35:29 ET


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