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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, March 16th (All times eastern)

Boston Bruins (37-27-8) at Washington Capitals (34-30-8), 3 p.m.

(Sports Network) - On the verge of his second 100-point season, Alex Ovechkin hopes that will be enough to get the Capitals into the postseason. Ovechkin and Washington continue their quest for a playoff spot this afternoon at the Verizon Center against one of the clubs it is chasing, the Boston Bruins.

Ovechkin posted a goal and an assist in Friday's 4-1 win over Atlanta. The Russian star ran his point streak to eight games (9 goals, 8 assists) and his season point total to 99.

That is just seven points shy of the 106 he totaled as a rookie in 2005-06 on the way to winning the Calder Memorial Trophy. A Hart Trophy candidate this season, Ovechkin has a career-high 57 goals this year and is trying to become the NHL's first 60-goal scorer since Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr of the Pittsburgh Penguins posted 69 and 62 goals, respectively, during the 1995-96 campaign.

Washington's win moved it to within five points of first-place Carolina in the Southeast Division. The Capitals are even with Florida for second in the standings, and all three of those teams are in action today.

The Hurricanes and Panthers have nine games left this season, while the Caps have 10 games remaining on their schedule. Washington is also tied for 10th in the East, four points behind Philadelphia and its 80 points for the eight spot. Boston is seventh with 82 points.

Against Atlanta, Brooks Laich scored twice and Matt Cooke also added a goal and an assist, while Olaf Kolzig faced just 12 shots, stopping 11 in Washington's second straight win.

The Capitals are 2-1-0 on a four-game homestand that wraps today. Washington, which is 19-15-3 as the host this year, next hits the road for six straight, a trip that includes favorable matchups versus Chicago, Atlanta and Tampa Bay, as well as a test in Carolina on March 25.

The Bruins padded their lead over Philadelphia in the playoff race by a point with Saturday's 3-2 overtime win. Andrew Ference tied the game with 27 seconds left in the third period on his first goal of the season and Aaron Ward tallied the game-winner in overtime.

Chuck Kobasew also scored for Boston, which trailed most of the game but used the late comeback to halt a three-game winless streak. It was also just the Bruins' second win in their last eight games.

Boston, which trails first-place Montreal in the Northeast Division by seven points with 10 games left to play, played without captain Zdeno Chara yet again. Chara has missed the last four tests due to an upper body injury.

The Bruins have lost their last three on the road and are 18-13-4 as the visiting club this year.

Boston has won two of three versus Washington this year, but the Capitals lone victory was a 10-2 thrashing of the Bruins at the Verizon Center on March 3. Ovechkin has three goals and three assists in three games versus Boston this season.

The Bruins have still won six of the last seven in the series and five of the last six at Washington.

03/16 10:20:23 ET


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