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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, February 14th (All times eastern)

Washington Capitals (34-16-5) at Tampa Bay Lightning (19-25-11), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals may be in a bit of a rut at the moment, but that hasn't slowed down Mike Green.

The standout defenseman will be shooting for an NHL record when the Capitals face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight at St. Pete Times Forum.

Green tied a league mark for consecutive games with a goal by a defenseman when he scored twice in Wednesday's clash with the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. His efforts weren't enough, however, to prevent Washington from being handed a 5-4 shootout loss.

The 23-year-old has registered a goal in seven straight contests, matching a record set by Boston's Mike O'Connell during the 1983-84 campaign, and has nine tallies and seven assists over that span. Green also leads all NHL blueliners in goals (21) and points (49) this season.

Alex Ovechkin assisted on Green's first goal to extend his own scoring streak to seven games. The Russian sensation, who tops the league with 37 goals this season, has compiled 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists) during the run.

Wednesday's setback was the second in the last three games for Washington following a three-game win streak. Despite their recent struggles, the Caps still own a comfortable nine-point lead over second-place Florida in the Southeast Division standings and are two behind New Jersey for second in Eastern Conference with 73 points.

The Capitals will attempt to rebound against a Tampa Bay club they have dominated over the past two years. Washington took six of eight matchups between the teams in 2007-08 and has won both meetings with the Lightning this season, most recently a 7-4 triumph at the Verizon Center on New Year's Day.

Washington also emerged victorious in three of its four visits to Tampa last season.

The Lightning are halfway through a six-game homestand and improved to 2-1-0 on the residency with Wednesday's 6-4 decision over Toronto. Tampa Bay jumped out to a big early lead with four first-period goals, two of which came off the stick of Ryan Malone.

Martin St. Louis scored once and had three assists to help the Lightning bounce back from a 3-1 home defeat to Atlanta on Monday. Vincent Lecavalier and Mark Recchi each had a goal and an assist on the night, while Mike McKenna made 21 saves between the pipes.

McKenna made his fourth straight start in place of regular netminder Mike Smith, who is dealing with post-concussion syndrome and is considered day-to- day. Over his first five NHL appearances, the 25-year-old McKenna has posted a 2-1-0 record and a 2.20 goals against average with one shutout.

The Lightning, who sport a 10-10-7 mark as the host on the year, will also welcome Chicago and New Jersey on the homestand.

02/14 11:07:04 ET


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