NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, January 26th (All times eastern)
Washington Capitals (20-21-7) at Carolina Hurricanes (25-19-6), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes will get re-acquainted this evening at the RBC Center, where the teams begin a home- and-home series.
This is the first game for both clubs after the All-Star break. The Capitals sent phenom Alexander Ovechkin to Wednesday's All-Star Game in Dallas, while Eric Staal and Justin Williams represented Carolina.
The Hurricanes had dropped two straight prior to the break, including last Thursday's setback to the visiting Caps. However, the most recent loss came Saturday evening in a home test against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Vinny Prospal scored the lone tally in the fourth round of the shootout, lifting the Bolts to a 6-5 win.
Staal tallied twice in the contest while Scott Walker finished with a goal and two assists for the Hurricanes, who have dropped three of the first five during their current seven-game stretch against Southeast Division rivals. Cam Ward turned aside 24 of 29 shots in a losing cause.
This home-and-home set completes Carolina's run against division rivals. The Hurricanes, who are 13-8-3 as the host this year, also cap a three-game homestand tonight.
As for the Capitals, they dropped four of five heading into the break. Washington was last in action on Saturday, when the Florida Panthers posted a 4-1 victory in the nation's capital. Jozef Stumpel scored a shorthanded go- ahead goal in the second period to lead the Panthers.
Dainius Zubrus scored the lone goal for the Capitals, while goaltender Olaf Kolzig was brilliant in defeat for Washington, turning aside 38 shots.
Ovechkin notched an assist in the loss to extend his point-scoring streak to nine games. The Russian winger has four goals and 11 assists during the tear.
The Caps and Hurricanes have split four meetings this year, but Carolina has taken five of the last seven encounters overall.
The teams will meet in Washington for the finale of this home-and-home on Saturday.
01/26 15:13:56 ET