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Caps aim to surge to 7th straight win in clash with Lightning
(Sports Network) - The sizzling Washington Capitals will try for their longest winning streak since the beginning of last season when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
The Capitals have won six in a row and are 10-1-1 over their last 12 trips to the ice. The last time Washington won seven straight was when it opened the 2011-12 season with a 7-0 record.
Washington also has a chance tonight to extend its lead over Winnipeg for the top spot in the Southeast Division. The Caps currently hold a two-point edge over the Jets and have a game in hand to use against the idle Jets on Saturday.
The Caps recorded a 3-1 win against Carolina on Thursday, as Washington opened a three-game stay at the Verizon Center with its third consecutive home victory. Mike Green scored the game-winner in the second period to help the Caps improve their April record to 6-0 and their home record to 11-8-0.
Troy Brouwer scored Washington's other two goals, while Braden Holtby posted 43 saves for the Capitals. Winnipeg also beat Florida by a 7-2 score on Thursday to keep pace with the Caps.
"We knew the importance of this game," said Brouwer. "We came in after the second period and saw what the Winnipeg score was, and knew that we needed to continue to play well. Just the fact that we are desperate for points now, we have to keep getting them to stay where we are in the standings."
Washington's Alex Ovechkin had scored six goals over a three-game span heading into Thursday's game, but failed to register a point in the win over the Hurricanes. Ovechkin, who has 16 goals over his last 14 games, is tied with Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos for the NHL lead with 26 markers on the season.
Ovechkin scored twice against the Lightning when Washington notched a 4-2 home win on April 7. It was the Capitals' second straight win in the series and seventh in the last 11 meetings.
Tampa Bay has lost four in a row and 13 of its past 15 regular-season games in D.C.
With just 36 points and eight games left in the regular season, the Lightning appear to be on their way to a second straight year out of the playoffs after making it to the Eastern Conference finals in 2011.
Tampa, which has lost three of its last four, heads into Saturday eight games out of a playoff spot in the East.
The Lightning split a recent two-game homestand, beating Ottawa on Tuesday before getting slammed by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday. Tampa Bay will kick off a four-game road trip tonight and is 6-13-0 as the guest this season compared to an 11-8-2 mark at home.
Jussi Jokinen potted two goals and added an assist on Thursday to lift the Penguins to the 6-3 victory at Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Teddy Purcell scored twice and Brett Connolly lit the lamp once for the Lightning. Ben Bishop allowed all six goals on 41 shots in the setback.
"They were getting pucks in off skates, off sticks and that's what happened," said Bishop. "They did a good job of getting bodies in front of the net and creating some confusion."
The Lightning played their fourth straight game without defenseman Victor Hedman on Thursday, but he could make his return on Saturday.
The Caps have been playing recently without forwards Martin Erat, Brooks Laich and Joel Ward. Erat and Laich are questionable for Saturday, while Ward is expected to miss another game.
04/13 09:51:00 ET
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