NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, April 13th
(All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Lightning (17-21-2) at Washington Capitals (22-17-2), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The sizzling Washington Capitals will try for their longest
winning streak since the beginning of last season when they host the Tampa Bay
Lightning on Saturday.
The Capitals have won six in a row and are 10-1-1 over their last 12 trips to
the ice. The last time Washington won seven straight was when it opened the
2011-12 season with a 7-0 record.
Washington also has a chance tonight to extend its lead over Winnipeg for the
top spot in the Southeast Division. The Caps currently hold a two-point edge
over the Jets and have a game in hand to use against the idle Jets on
The Caps recorded a 3-1 win against Carolina on Thursday, as Washington opened
a three-game stay at the Verizon Center with its third consecutive home
victory. Mike Green scored the game-winner in the second period to help the
Caps improve their April record to 6-0 and their home record to 11-8-0.
Troy Brouwer scored Washington's other two goals, while Braden Holtby posted
43 saves for the Capitals. Winnipeg also beat Florida by a 7-2 score on
Thursday to keep pace with the Caps.
"We knew the importance of this game," said Brouwer. "We came in after the
second period and saw what the Winnipeg score was, and knew that we needed to
continue to play well. Just the fact that we are desperate for points now, we
have to keep getting them to stay where we are in the standings."
Washington's Alex Ovechkin had scored six goals over a three-game span heading
into Thursday's game, but failed to register a point in the win over the
Hurricanes. Ovechkin, who has 16 goals over his last 14 games, is tied with
Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos for the NHL lead with 26 markers on the season.
Ovechkin scored twice against the Lightning when Washington notched a 4-2 home
win on April 7. It was the Capitals' second straight win in the series and
seventh in the last 11 meetings.
Tampa Bay has lost four in a row and 13 of its past 15 regular-season games in
With just 36 points and eight games left in the regular season, the Lightning
appear to be on their way to a second straight year out of the playoffs after
making it to the Eastern Conference finals in 2011.
Tampa, which has lost three of its last four, heads into Saturday eight games
out of a playoff spot in the East.
The Lightning split a recent two-game homestand, beating Ottawa on Tuesday
before getting slammed by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday. Tampa Bay will
kick off a four-game road trip tonight and is 6-13-0 as the guest this season
compared to an 11-8-2 mark at home.
Jussi Jokinen potted two goals and added an assist on Thursday to lift the
Penguins to the 6-3 victory at Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Teddy Purcell scored twice and Brett Connolly lit the lamp once for the
Lightning. Ben Bishop allowed all six goals on 41 shots in the setback.
"They were getting pucks in off skates, off sticks and that's what happened,"
said Bishop. "They did a good job of getting bodies in front of the net and
creating some confusion."
The Lightning played their fourth straight game without defenseman Victor
Hedman on Thursday, but he could make his return on Saturday.
The Caps have been playing recently without forwards Martin Erat, Brooks Laich
and Joel Ward. Erat and Laich are questionable for Saturday, while Ward is
expected to miss another game.
04/13 10:16:32 ET