NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, March 10th (All times eastern)
Washington Capitals (40-21-6) at Nashville Predators (33-29-4), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - After a winless homestand, the Washington Capitals have to try and regroup on the road. As luck would have it, they open that brief trek against one of the hottest home teams in the league.
Washington will attempt to snap the Nashville Predators' five-game home winning streak in tonight's test at the Sommet Center.
The Capitals have been one of the better home teams this season, but went 0-3-1 on their recent residency to fall to 25-9-2 as the host his year. Washington, which will visit Philadelphia on Thursday, is 15-12-4 on the road, having won its last three as the guest.
The Caps did manage a point in Sunday's finale, falling 4-3 in a shootout to Pittsburgh. The game came down to two of the NHL's biggest stars, but after the Penguins' Sidney Crosby beat Jose Theodore with a high wrist shot, Alex Ovechkin was halted by Marc-Andre Fleury to give the Pens the win.
Ovechkin scored his league-leading 47th goal in regulation, while fellow Russian teammate Alexander Semin scored in his sixth straight game. Semin's goal-scoring streak is tied for the second-longest in the league this year, behind only teammate Mike Green's eight-game run.
Semin has seven goals and six assists over his last eight games, while Ovechkin, who missed Thursday's loss to Toronto with a bruised heel, has lit the lamp 16 times over his last 17 contests.
Still, the duo couldn't prevent the Capitals from suffering their longest losing streak of the season. The club has been outscored 17-8 over its skid and hasn't lost five straight since November 10-21, 2007. That five-game slide ended with the firing of Glen Hanlon, who was replaced by current head coach Bruce Boudreau.
Washington trails second-seeded New Jersey by one point in the Eastern Conference standings and the Southeast Division leaders still hold a nine- point edge over Carolina in the division race.
The Capitals now head to Nashville, which is 9-2-1 over its last 12 games at the Sommet Center but is looking to avenge Saturday's 4-1 loss in Philadelphia that halted its season-best six-game winning streak.
Five of those victories came at home and the Predators are 13-6-1 in 20 games since the All-Star break. With 70 points, Nashville is now tied with Edmonton and Dallas for the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference. Those three teams all trail sixth-seeded Columbus by two points.
Martin Erat had the lone goal in Saturday's loss for the Predators, who had matched their second-longest winning streak in club history. Pekka Rinne allowed four goals on 26 shots in the loss to snap his personal six-start win streak as well.
The Capitals posted a 4-3 shootout win when these two clubs met in Washington on October 28. The Caps also posted a 4-2 victory when the clubs last met in Nashville on March 18, 2008, and are 4-2 with a tie in the last seven games of the series.
03/10 10:44:13 ET