NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, March 25rd
(All times eastern)
Washington Capitals (37-31-8) at Carolina Hurricanes (41-30-5), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Washington Capitals will try to gain ground in the
Southeast Division tonight, when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes for a
showdown at the RBC Center.
The Capitals have won five of their last six games, but have been unable to
make any headway as Carolina has been victorious in three straight and eight
of its previous nine outings.
The Hurricanes are currently first in the Southeast with 87 points and are
five ahead of Washington. Both clubs have six games remaining in the regular
Washington is also trying to break into the top eight in the Eastern
Conference. The Caps are ninth in the conference and just two points behind
Boston for the final postseason berth in the East. The Bruins are in action
tonight at Toronto.
Carolina is 4-2 against the Capitals this year and has taken six of eight and
seven of the last 10 matchups in the series. Washington has also dropped five
straight and seven of eight in Raleigh.
The Capitals have been leaning heavily on superstar Alexander Ovechkin all
season and did so once again in Friday's win at Atlanta. Ovechkin scored twice
to become the first player to reach 60 goals in 12 years as Washington rallied
to defeat the Thrashers, 5-3, at Philips Arena.
Ovechkin became the first player to score at least 60 goals in a year since
Pittsburgh's Mario Lemieux (69) and Jaromir Jagr (62) both accomplished the
feat during the 1995-96 campaign.
Also, the Russian sniper became the second Capitals player in club history to
hit the 60-goal mark, joining Dennis Maruk, who posted a franchise record 60
goals in 1981-82. Ovechkin also had two assists in the game and now has a
league-leading 106 points on the season.
Nicklas Backstrom tallied two goals and an assist while Boyd Gordon also
scored for the Capitals. Cristobal Huet stopped 15 shots in the win.
Tonight marks the fourth stop on a season high, six-game road trip for the
Capitals, who are 17-16-5 as the visiting team this season. Washington has won
four of its last six tests away from D.C.
The Hurricanes, meanwhile, have been off since posting a close win over
Florida on Thursday. Eric Staal squirted the shootout winner through the pads
of Florida goaltender Tomas Vokoun to give Carolina a 2-1 victory over the
Panthers at BankAtlantic Center.
Staal's goal followed that of Sergei Samsonov, preserving the win for
Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward, who made 36 saves to aid Carolina.
Trevor Letowski provided the regulation goal for the Hurricanes.
Tonight marks the first of two straight at home for Carolina, which is 22-12-3
as the hosts this season. The Hurricanes have won four straight and seven
of eight in Raleigh.
03/25 10:49:27 ET