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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, March 14th (All times eastern)

Carolina Hurricanes (36-28-6) at Washington Capitals (42-21-6), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals have been one of the NHL's best home teams this season, but they have yet to find any success on their own ice during the month of March.

The Southeast Division leaders will try to break a four-game home losing streak when the playoff-hopeful Carolina Hurricanes skate into the Verizon Center this evening.

Washington's home skid began with a 6-2 defeat to fellow division member Florida on March 1 and continued with a 5-2 setback to the Hurricanes two nights later. The Caps would go on to lose twice more on the residency before getting back on track with a pair of recent road wins.

After downing Nashville in overtime on Tuesday, Washington rode an outstanding performance from goaltender Jose Theodore to a 2-1 triumph over Philadelphia Thursday at the Wachovia Center.

Theodore turned aside 35-of-36 shots, including all nine chances he faced in the third period to protect the one-goal lead. Alex Ovechkin put the Capitals ahead when he scored his league-leading 48th goal of the season late in the second frame.

Alexander Semin set up Ovechkin's tally to extend his scoring streak to eight games. The Russian forward has totaled six goals and six assists over that stretch.

Despite their struggles at home as of late, the Capitals still sport an excellent 25-9-2 record at the Verizon Center this season. Following tonight's tilt, the team will embark on a five-game road trip beginning Monday in Atlanta.

Carolina concludes a three-game trek tonight in which it has lost the first two tests. Both defeats came by a single goal, as the Hurricanes fell in a shootout to Chicago on Wednesday and came out on the short end of a 3-2 decision at Dallas the following night.

The Hurricanes had won four in a row prior to the Chicago game and are in the thick of a heated Eastern Conference playoff race. The club is presently tied with the New York Rangers for the final two postseason berths, but ninth-place Florida is lurking only one point behind both teams. Carolina also trails Pittsburgh by just one point for the No. 6 seed in the East.

Cam Ward made 28 saves in Thursday's 3-2 loss to the Stars, but allowed all three Dallas goals within a nine-minute span in the second period.

Hurricanes captain Rod Brind'Amour had a short-handed goal along with an assist on the evening and now has compiled seven points (4 goals, 3 assists) during a five-game scoring streak.

Carolina, which is 12 points in back of the Capitals in the Southeast standings, is 17-15-5 on the road for the season. The Hurricanes will embark on a three-game homestand, culminating with a March 21 meeting against Washington, after tonight's matchup.

These divisional foes have split four previous encounters this season, but the Hurricanes have lost in four of their last six visits to Washington.

03/14 10:55:12 ET


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