NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, March 22nd
(All times eastern)
Washington Capitals (26-35-13) at Carolina Hurricanes (36-29-8), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The well-rested Carolina Hurricanes will return to the ice
this evening, when they welcome the Washington Capitals to the RBC Center.
The Hurricanes haven't played since Saturday's lopsided win over the New
Jersey Devils. Some things have changed in the Eastern Conference playoff race
since then, as Carolina is now tied for the eighth and final seed with Toronto
and Montreal. All three teams have 80 points and are just one ahead of the New
Saturday's 7-2 victory at the Meadowlands allowed the Hurricanes to split a
home-and-home set with the Devils. Chad LaRose scored twice and Carolina
peppered Martin Brodeur early, as the 'Canes skated their way to the blowout
Josef Vasicek had a goal and two assists for the Hurricanes, who snapped a
five-game skid versus the Devils. Scott Walker, Tim Gleason, Ray Whitney, and
Rod Brind'Amour also scored for Carolina, which has won two of its last three
John Grahame stopped 18 shots for the Hurricanes and improved to 2-1-1 since
No. 1 goaltender Cam Ward suffered a deep cut on his left knee. Ward, who last
played on March 11, could have the stitches on his leg removed by this
weekend, but it's still unclear when he will actually return to the ice.
Carolina is playing the first of back-to-back home games tonight. The 'Canes
are 18-14-4 as the host club this season.
Meanwhile, the Capitals had a two-game win streak halted on Wednesday night,
as they dropped a 5-2 decision in Buffalo. Drew Stafford scored a pair of
goals to lift the Eastern Conference-leading Sabres to the easy victory.
Donald Brashear and Brian Pothier both lit the lamp for Washington, which was
trying to post three straight wins for the first time since January 4-9. Olaf
Kolzig allowed five goals on 31 shots in a losing effort.
Washington, which is a dreadful 10-20-6 as the visiting team this year, is
playing the middle portion of a three-game road trip tonight. The Capitals
have been defeated in five straight and 12 of their last 13 road tests.
This evening's matchup is the final meeting between the Hurricanes and Caps
this season. Carolina has taken four of the seven previous encounters this
year and seven of the last 10 overall games in this series.
03/22 10:33:11 ET