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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, January 19th (All times eastern)

Florida Panthers (21-23-4) at Washington Capitals (20-21-5), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals will conclude a five-game homestand tonight with a visit from the Florida Panthers for a Southeast Division battle at the Verizon Center.

Washington is 3-1-0 on the stand thus far after Thursday's 5-4 shootout victory over Edmonton. The shootout went to 12 rounds, with Matt Bradley's goal finally clinching things for the Capitals.

After 11 scoreless rounds, Bradley roofed a backhander behind Dwayne Roloson and Olaf Kolzig absorbed a Sheldon Souray slap shot in the stomach to secure the win.

Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Mike Green all scored for a third straight game, and Ovechkin added an assist for the Capitals, who have won four of their last five games.

Ovechkin is second in the NHL with 35 goals and has lit the lamp 10 times in his last nine games. Green, meanwhile, leads all NHL defenseman in goals scored with 14.

Nicklas Backstrom also scored against the Oilers, while Boyd Gordon and Jeff Schultz each collected two helpers. Kolzig allowed four goals on 33 shots.

Chris Clark has missed Washington's last two games due to a nagging groin injury and is doubtful for tonight.

Washington is 11-11-1 at home this year and plays its next two games on the road, starting in Pittsburgh on Monday.

The Panthers enter this game with a little momentum after knocking off Atlantic Division co-leader New Jersey on Friday. Radek Dvorak and David Booth scored 1:17 apart early in the third period to lift Florida to the 2-1 victory.

Backup goalie Craig Anderson, making just his sixth start of the season, stopped 31-of-32 shots. All-Star netminder Tomas Vokoun should be back between the pipes tonight despite the fact that he is just 2-7-2 in his last 11 starts.

However, Vokoun is 5-4-0 with a shining 1.77 goals-against average in nine career outings versus Washington.

Florida halted a three-game slide with the victory, finally giving head coach Jacques Martin his 500th career win. Martin is just the 10th head coach in NHL history to reach that mark and is now tied with Toe Blake for the ninth most wins in league history.

The Panthers are also just four points back of first-place Carolina in the Southeast Division, while the Caps are one point further behind.

Friday's win came in the middle portion of a three-game road trip that concludes tonight. The Panthers are 12-12-1 as the visiting club this year, and begin a four-game homestand on Tuesday versus Ottawa.

Florida captured its first three meetings with Washington this year before the Capitals' 2-1 win in Florida on December 1. The Panthers have won eight of the last 10 in the series and four of five in Washington.

01/19 10:39:02 ET

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