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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, March 18th (All times Eastern)

Washington Capitals (36-29-6) at Chicago Blackhawks (39-25-8), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Chicago Blackhawks haven't let the absence of captain Jonathan Toews derail they're postseason chase.

With the return of Toews still unknown, the Blackhawks try to extend a four- game point streak tonight in a matchup with the playoff-hopeful Washington Capitals.

Toews missed his 12th straight game on Friday due to an upper-body injury believed to be a concussion after not practicing the previous day, leading to the belief he had suffered a setback. Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville said he was hopeful to have his captain back by now, but now is just hoping he can suit up come playoff time.

Chicago enters play tonight sixth overall in the Western Conference, four points behind Nashville and three up on seventh-place Colorado. The Blackhawks have posted a 3-0-1 mark over their last four games and notched a 4-1 victory over the hosting Dallas Stars on Friday.

The 'Hawks got off to a very fast start, with Dave Bolland scoring just 10 seconds into the game and Patrick Sharp scoring his first of two tallies just 1:32 later. Marian Hossa also scored, Viktor Stalberg had two assists and Corey Crawford ended with 20 saves.

"We got two quick ones in the first, and it seems like we start every period like that," Sharp said. "We're not always going to score like we did, but as long as we're doing the right things, the game turns in our favor."

Chicago is 6-1-1 over its past eight games.

Washington, meanwhile, had a four-game win streak end with Friday's 3-2 loss to Winnipeg. The Capitals own just a two-point edge over the Jets and Sabres for the eighth and final playoff berth in the East and are also five back of the first-place Panthers in the Southeast Division.

The Caps never led in Friday's setback, but did rally twice to tie the game on goals from Brooks Laich and Mathieu Perreault before Winnipeg got the game- winner from Dustin Byfuglien midway through the third period.

"We came back in the second period pretty well. We scored the first goal right away but again it was one of those games where who scores the third goal wins. It was still a tough loss," Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin said.

Tomas Vokoun made 25 saves for Washington, which plays the third of a tough five-game road trip that still includes stops in Detroit and Philadelphia.

The Capitals have won three straight over the Blackhawks, taking the past two encounters in overtime. They are 5-2-0 with a tie in their past eight trips to Chicago.

03/18 10:30:57 ET


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