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Ducks Vs. Capitals: Anaheim Opens Seven-Game Road Trip

(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals will try to break out of their December slump when they invite the Anaheim Ducks for an interconference battle tonight at the Verizon Center. Washington has lost its last six games, going 0-5-1 and getting outscored 23-8 over that stretch. The low point came in the Caps' last game, a 7-0 blowout loss to the New York Rangers this past Sunday at Madison Square Garden. Ryan Callahan scored twice and Henrik Lundqvist turned away all 31 shots as the Caps were blanked for the second time in three games.

Semyon Varlamov stopped just 13-of-20 shots for the Capitals, who have lost six straight -- their longest losing streak since the 2006-07 campaign. "We have to regroup together," said Washington's Alex Ovechkin. "We don't have to say that this guy played bad or makes mistakes -- we all make mistakes. It's a lot of mistakes, it's all of our fault, and we have to keep together as a group."

Washington last lost six in a row from Mar. 21-31, 2007 and that season also contained the Capitals' last slide of seven or more. The Caps dropped nine in a row from Feb. 25-March 15, 2007. The Capitals are 12-4-2 as the host this year, but they have lost four straight in D.C. Washington could get a boost tonight if defenseman Mike Green is able to return to the lineup. Green, who has five goals and 14 points this year, has sat out the last two tilts with flu-like symptoms and is questionable for tonight.

The Ducks are coming off a 2-0 homestand and hope to carry some momentum with them on the road as they begin a seven-game swing tonight. Anaheim posted home wins over Calgary and Minnesota on Friday and Sunday, respectively, and the Ducks are 3-0-1 in their last four outings.

Anaheim's offense exploded Sunday against the Wild as Corey Perry notched his first career hat trick in the 6-2 rout at the Honda Center. Perry scored in all three periods, including his first penalty-shot goal in the second. "It's been a long time coming," Perry, in his sixth season, said of the hat trick. "There's a lot of guys who helped." Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan both had three points in the win, with Getzlaf scoring two goals and Ryan getting one. Perry, Getzlaf and Ryan combined to give Anaheim's top line 11 points in the game, including all six goals.

Jonas Hiller made 20 saves to improve to 14-11-3 on the season. Teemu Selanne (groin) and Saku Koivu (flu) are questionable for tonight's game. Selanne has missed the last two games, while Koivu sat out Sunday's game against Minnesota. The Ducks are just 5-7-3 as the road team this year and are heading into their longest trek of the year having lost four of their last six as the guest. Next up will be tomorrow's game against the New York Islanders.

Tonight marks the first of two meetings between the Ducks and Capitals this year. Washington recorded a 5-1 home victory against Anaheim in the only encounter last season and the Caps have won three out of four in the series. The Ducks have taken four of the last six encounters in D.C.

For more Ducks news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Anaheim Calling.