NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, April 9th (All times eastern)
Washington Capitals (49-23-8) at Tampa Bay Lightning (24-38-18), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Owners of a 10-game winning streak over the Lightning, the Washington Capitals will try to clinch the Eastern Conference's second seed in a matchup tonight versus Tampa Bay at St. Pete Times Forum.
The Capitals own a four-point lead over third-seeded New Jersey with two games left to play. That means Washington can lock down the second spot with at least a point or a New Jersey regulation loss to Ottawa tonight.
However, the odds are good that Washington will walk away with a victory this evening. The Capitals haven't lost to the Lightning since November 16 of last year in Tampa Bay. Washington's 10-game win streak over Tampa includes a win in all five meetings so far this year and the Caps have outscored the Lightning 26-12 in that span.
Washington, which has scored at least four goals in all five meetings this season, has won five straight in Tampa.
The Capitals won for the fourth time in five games on Tuesday, posting a 4-2 victory in Atlanta to sweep a home-and-home set. Tomas Fleischmann, Viktor Kozlov and Alexander Semin all scored in the first period.
Simeon Varlamov made 29 saves and Sergei Fedorov also scored.
Alex Ovechkin, who has six goals and 13 points versus the Lightning this year, notched a pair of helpers to stretch his point streak to nine games. Ovechkin has six goals and 13 assists over the burst and is just two points back of Evgeni Malkin's NHL-leading 108. Ovechkin leads the league with 55 goals.
Washington is ending the regular season on a three-game road trip and will complete that swing Saturday in Florida. The Caps are 20-14-5 on the road this year.
In addition to their lengthy losing streak to the Capitals, the Lightning will be aiming to end a seven-game overall skid tonight. Tampa Bay hasn't won since March 24 and is on its worst losing streak since dropping nine straight from November 23-December 10.
Tampa was last in action on Tuesday, when it was dealt a 6-4 loss by Pittsburgh. Martin St. Louis scored his 30th goal of the season in the loss, marking the fifth time in his career he has reached that mark.
Jeff Halpern tallied twice, Paul Szczechura logged a goal and assist and Karri Ramo allowed five goals on 30 shots in defeat.
Tampa Bay has dropped eight of its last nine at home, where it is 12-17-11 this year. The club wraps its season on Saturday in Atlanta.
04/09 10:35:20 ET