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The Ducks are going strong, but now the tough Washington Capitals arrive

Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf and Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin tussle during a game last season in Anaheim.

Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf and Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin tussle during a game last season in Anaheim.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Neither a “Snowmageddon” nor rain is going to stop the Ducks from having to ramp up their emotions again.

A huge regular-season matchup will be delivered Monday with a home game against Washington, which owns the best record in the NHL. It comes after an intense, physical win against the Kings on Saturday put Anaheim in first place in the Pacific Division.

Considering the Ducks’ 18-1-1 run, it is a potential Stanley Cup final preview in the first meeting this season after the Jan. 22 game was postponed because of a severe East Coast snowstorm.

Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau doesn’t think his team will have much difficulty getting engaged again after the Kings game.

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“I think sometimes when you play a team that’s a last-place team, you might have a problem ramping it up,” Boudreau said by phone on a mandatory day off Sunday. “Playing a team that’s lost 13 games [in regulation] all year and everybody says is the best in the league — I think it’s a great test and a great challenge.”

For all of Anaheim’s superlatives — its franchise-record 11-game win streak is one short of the longest in the NHL this season, by Florida and Chicago — Washington brings equally impressive credentials.

The Capitals on Saturday became the first team to reach 100 points in its first 65 games since the Hall of Fame-laden Detroit Red Wings in 2001-02. Washington is the only team without consecutive regulation losses this season.

Seven Washington players could finish with 20-goal seasons. Star winger Alex Ovechkin leads the league with 41 and usually plays on a line with Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie. They will likely probably be matched against the Ducks’ shutdown line ofy Ryan Kesler, Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg that again has its work cut out.

“It will probably be the biggest test that they face, that threesome,” Boudreau said. “And they’ve faced a lot of guys. I don’t think they’ve faced an animal like those three.”

Boudreau is uniquely aware of Washington, having coached the Capitals from 2007 to 2011. He noted that they still have 10 players he coached.

DUCKS NEXT UP

VS. WASHINGTON

When: Monday, 7 p.m.

On the air: TV: Prime; Radio: 830

Update: Boudreau has alternated between John Gibson and Frederik Andersen in goal for two games at a time, so that would dictate it’s Gibson’s turn. But Andersen matched a career-high seventh straight win Saturday and his point streak in 15 straight decisions is one short of Jonas Hiller’s franchise record in 2013-14.


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