NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, April 7th
(All times eastern)
Washington Capitals (48-23-8) at Atlanta Thrashers (34-39-6), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals will continue their push for the
Eastern Conference's second seed when they visit the Atlanta Thrashers at
Philips Arena for the back end of a home-and-home series.
With 104 points, the Capitals have already clinched the Southeast Division
title and are two points ahead of New Jersey for the No. 2 seed in the
conference. Both Washington and the Devils, who are hosting Toronto tonight,
have three games left in the regular season.
However, Washington is no longer in the race for the conference's top seed, as
Boston clinched that distinction over the weekend.
The Capitals will aim for a home-and-home sweep of the Thrashers tonight after
recording Sunday's victory in D.C. Washington has won three out of five
meetings with Atlanta this year and will try to seal the season series with a
victory in the final meeting between the clubs this year.
Washington has taken five of the last seven meetings with the Thrashers, but
Atlanta has won two straight and four out of five on its home ice.
Brooks Laich posted a goal and two assists as Washington scored four times in
the third period to top Atlanta, 6-4, at the Verizon Center.
Michael Nylander, Alexander Semin, Keith Aucoin, Eric Fehr and Tomas
Fleischmann all picked up a goal and one helper for the Capitals.
Despite allowing four goals on just 24 shots, Jose Theodore picked up his 31st
win of the season.
Alex Ovechkin recorded a pair of assists to extend his point streak to eight
games. Ovechkin has six goals and 11 assists during the tear and, with 106
points on the year, is just two behind Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin for the most
in the league. Washington's superstar winger is gunning for his second
straight Art Ross Trophy as the league's leading scorer and, with 55 goals, he
is already headed for a second consecutive Rocket Richard Trophy.
The Thrashers, meanwhile, had been excelling at their spoiler role, but had a
four-game win streak come to an end on Sunday.
Colby Armstrong, Jim Slater, Ilya Kovalchuk and Slava Kozlov tallied for the
Thrashers, while Johan Hedberg surrendered five goals on 32 shots in defeat.
Washington's win over the Thrashers came in the club's final home game of the
regular season. Tonight's test kicks off a season-ending three-game road trip
for the Caps, who are 19-14-5 as the guest this season.
The Thrashers, on the other hand, are closing out their campaign on a three-
game homestand. Atlanta, which will also host Florida and Tampa Bay on the
residency, are 17-19-2 at Philips Arena this year.
04/07 11:03:10 ET