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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, February 13th (All times eastern)

Washington Capitals (27-25-5) at Atlanta Thrashers (27-27-4), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A Southeast Division showdown is on tap tonight in Atlanta, as the Thrashers welcome the Washington Capitals for a battle at Philips Arena.

Carolina took hold of first place in the Southeast with a victory over Boston on Tuesday, but the race is still extremely close. The Hurricanes lead with 60 points, Washington is one behind in second and the Thrashers are third with 58 points.

The Capitals have won three of their last four games and are coming off Sunday's exciting win over the visiting New York Rangers. Mike Green scored a power-play goal just 23 seconds into overtime, giving the Capitals a 3-2 victory over the Rangers at the Verizon Center.

Washington started the extra session with the man-advantage after New York's Ryan Hollweg was penalized for tripping in the final minute of the third. The Caps quickly gained the offensive zone after the opening faceoff and Green blasted a shot from the center point that deflected off the stick of New York's Marc Staal before going through the legs of netminder Stephen Valiquette.

Green, who also scored the overtime winner against the Rangers on December 12, notched his 15th goal of the season and Alexander Ovechkin had a hand in all three goals for Washington.

Ovechkin picked up the game's first goal and added two assists, giving him a league-best 76 points. Boyd Gordon also scored for Washington, while Olaf Kolzig made 31 saves.

Tonight marks the opener of a three-game road trip for the Capitals, who are 12-12-4 as the visiting club this season. Washington has won two in a row and four of its last six on the road.

Atlanta halted a two-game slide its last time out, as the Thrashers edged visiting Tampa Bay on Saturday. Alexei Zhitnik scored 1:26 into overtime, as the Thrashers defeated the Lightning, 2-1, at Philips Arena.

In overtime, Zhitnik faked a shot, went wide on Tampa Bay defenseman Filip Kuba, who had broken his stick, and beat Johan Holmqvist with a wrister high on the short side.

Marian Hossa also tallied for the Thrashers, while Kari Lehtonen made 27 saves to notch his 12th win of the season.

Atlanta is wrapping up a four-game homestand tonight and is 15-14-2 as the host club this season.

The Thrashers have won three of the five matchups with Washington this season and eight of the last 13 meetings overall. The Caps have taken three of five in Atlanta, but the Thrashers have won five of their last eight home tests against Washington.

02/13 10:34:44 ET


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