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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, January 14th (All times eastern)

Washington Capitals (27-14-3) at Pittsburgh Penguins (21-19-4), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals will try to avoid their longest losing streak of the season when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins for tonight's showdown at Mellon Arena.

The Capitals have lost three straight contests to match their longest skid of the year. The three-game slide comes directly on the heels of a season-high seven-game winning streak.

However, Washington is still first in the Southeast Division and second in the Eastern Conference with 57 points.

The Capitals were handed their most recent setback by visiting Edmonton on Tuesday. Dwayne Roloson stopped 34-of-36 shots and Erik Cole had a hat trick to help the Oilers defeat Washington, 5-2, at the Verizon Center.

Tomas Fleischmann and Mike Green scored for Washington, which has lost three consecutive games in regulation for just the second time during Bruce Boudreau's 105-game reign as the team's head coach.

Jose Theodore was handed his second straight loss after giving up four goals on 22 shots.

Beginning with tonight's test, the Caps are playing four of their next five games on the road. Washington is just 9-11-2 as the visiting club this year, but has won four of its last six away from D.C. The Caps will next host Boston on Saturday before heading out on a three-game road trip.

The Penguins, meanwhile, will try to post consecutive victories for the first time since mid-November tonight. Pittsburgh notched a 4-2 decision in Philadelphia on Tuesday, but hasn't put together back-to-back wins since a six-game winning streak from November 1-15.

Tyler Kennedy scored the first of four consecutive Pittsburgh goals, as the Penguins doubled up the rival Flyers, 4-2, at the Wachovia Center.

Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and Matt Cooke had a goal apiece for the Penguins, who came into Philadelphia having lost two in a row and seven of their previous eight tests. Pittsburgh not only snapped the two-game slide, but also snapped a five-game losing streak in Philadelphia and handed the Flyers their first regulation home loss since November 8.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 27-of-29 shots in the win.

Sidney Crosby added two assists on Tuesday and has seven points (2 goals, 5 assists) during a four-game point streak. Crosby has recorded seven goals and 14 assists in 12 career games against the Capitals. His rival on the Washington side, Alex Ovechkin, has recorded six goals and nine assists in 12 career tests against the Pens.

Tonight's test marks the start of a five-game homestand for the Pens, who are 9-9-2 as the host and have lost five of their last six home tilts.

Washington won the first of four meetings with Pittsburgh this season, posting a 4-3 road decision on October 16. The Caps have taken two of the last three encounters, but the Penguins have still taken seven of the last nine tilts. Washington has won its last two games in the Steel City, but the Pens have won 10 of 13 meetings on their home ice.

01/14 10:40:40 ET

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