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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, March 14th (All times eastern)

Atlanta Thrashers (31-33-8) at Washington Capitals (33-30-8), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals will continue their quest for the postseason tonight, as they welcome the Atlanta Thrashers for a Southeast Division matchup at the Verizon Center.

The Capitals had lost two straight games before notching a win against visiting Calgary on Wednesday. Washington has 74 points and is tied with Florida and Toronto in the Eastern Conference standings. Philadelphia is currently holding the eighth and final postseason berth in the East with 79 points.

Washington is trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

Ovechkin, Washington's Hart Trophy contender, scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner with 1:54 left in regulation to lift the Caps to a 3-2 win over the Flames.

The Russian superstar leads the NHL with 56 goals and 97 points on the season and is trying to become the first player to reach the 60-goal plateau in over a decade. Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr of the Pittsburgh Penguins were the last players to notch 60 markers in a season, as they scored 69 and 62 goals, respectively, during the 1995-96 campaign.

Ovechkin currently has a seven-game point streak and has eight goals and seven assists during that run.

Viktor Kozlov also lit the lamp for the Capitals, who won for the third time in five games.

Olaf Kolzig made 24 stops to earn the win, his 24th this year and 300th career NHL victory -- all with Washington.

Tonight's test marks the third portion of a four-game homestand for the Caps, who are 18-15-3 as the host this year. Washington will close the residency Sunday against Boston.

The Thrashers picked up a win Thursday night, as they beat visiting Calgary for just their second victory in 12 games. Ilya Kovalchuk netted his third hat trick of the season and added an assist as Atlanta came back to beat the Flames, 6-4, at Philips Arena.

Bobby Holik scored the game-winning goal and had two assists while Kari Lehtonen made 28 saves for the Thrashers, who are 2-6-4 in their last 12.

Kovalchuk now has 48 goals on the season and is second in the league only to Ovechkin's total. The 24-year-old Kovalchuk is trying for the second 50-goal season of his career after posting 52 markers in 2005-06.

Atlanta kicks off a three-game road trip tonight and is just 13-17-5 as the visiting club this season. The Thrashers have lost seven straight and 10 of their last 12 road games.

The Thrashers are 4-2 against Washington this season and have taken four of five and five of the last eight meetings. Atlanta has also taken two of three and five of seven in D.C.

03/14 10:46:58 ET


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