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Game Preview: Vancouver Canucks vs. Washington Capitals

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The Vancouver Canucks look to end their brief skid against the Washington Capitals, winners of three straight.

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks (3-1-2) vs. Washington Capitals (4-1-0)

Time 7:00 PM PT TV Sportsnet 360
H2H (2014/15) 2-0-0 Canucks Last Meeting 4-3 Canucks - December 2, 2014
The Enemy Japers' Rink Scoring Leaders

VAN: Brandon Sutter (2-3-5)

WSH: Alex Ovechkin (4-2-6)

Canucks Category Capitals
3-1-2 Season Record 4-1-0
8 Points 8
T-1st Division Position 3rd
Lost 2 Streak Won 3
15 Goals For 19
11 Goals Against 12
5.0 Power Play % 31.3
86.7 Penalty Kill % 86.7
32.2 Shots Per Game 29.2
28.0 Shots Against Per Game 24.2

CANUCKS NOTES

The Canucks have dropped their last two games, but both were by just one goal. They'll look to end their brief skid tonight when the Washington Capitals make their only visit of the year to Rogers Arena.

In hopes of finally getting Radim Vrbata his first point of the year, the Canucks will put Vrbata back on the top line with the Sedins. Hansen will move down and skate with Alex Burrows and Brandon Sutter while the Kid Line remains together. Jared McCann will take Adam Cracknell's spot in the lineup, skating on the 4th line with Brandon Prust and Derek Dorsett. The defensive pairings remain the same, which means Yannick Weber will be the healthy scratch.

Chris Higgins was on the ice at practice this week for the Canucks, but there is still no timetable for his return.

Vancouver is still looking for their first home win of the season, and one key to that will be fixing their early season power play struggles. The Canucks are just 1-for-20 on the advantage so far and they'll be facing a team that has the second best power play percentage (31.3) in the league, so it'll be interesting to see what happens tonight when either team goes on the power play.

Vancouver has lost their first three home games, something that hasn't happened since the 1995-96 season.

Ryan Miller will get the call in net for the Canucks, and he's looked fantastic to start the year, posting a 1.80 GAA and .935 save percentage so far this season, despite not yet getting a game off.

CAPITALS NOTES

The Capitals are off to a strong start this season, winning four of their first five games, including their last three in a row. Washington is hoping to build off last year's success where they broke the 100-point mark for the first time in eight years.

Of course, the big splash the Capitals made this offseason was bringing in T.J. Oshie from the St. Louis Blues to skate alongside Alex Ovechkin. So far this year, Oshie has three goals and two assists in the team's first five games. Ovechkin has been hot as well and is looking for a goal in his fifth straight game.

Washington is coming off a big win in Calgary on Tuesday when they broke a 1-1 tie in the second period with three straight goals, cruising to a 6-2 win. During their three-game win streak, the Capitals have outscored opponents 14-4.

The Capitals have also tightened things up defensively after a shaky start, allowing just four goals in their last three games.

Washington has struggled on the road against Vancouver in recent years, with their last win at Rogers Arena coming back on February 14, 2001. Since then, the Capitals have gone 0-5-1 in its last six trips to Vancouver and has won just twice in its last 13 overall matchup.

Braden Holtby is slated to get the start in net for Washington. Holtby has led Washington to all four of their wins so far, posting a 2.03 GAA with a .916 save percentage.