Welcome |Account|Sign Out 
NEW! SIGN IN WITH YOUR SOCIAL PROFILE
OR
Username or EmailPassword
 
2014 NHL Draft
SHARE

Caps could jump to second in East with win

Monday, 03.16.2009 / 2:15 PM / Game-Day Skate

By Adam Schwartz - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Capitals are just one point behind the Devils for second place in the Eastern Conference, but they have a chance to leapfrog past New Jersey Monday night when they face the Atlanta Thrashers (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN2, RIS) in one of just two games on the schedule.

The other game Monday features the Nashville Predators trying to jump from ninth to seventh place in the Western Conference when they face the Kings (10:30 p.m. ET, GCL), who are five points out a playoff spot and are desperate for points.

Here's what to keep an eye out for:

* Washington left wing Alex Ovechkin, who leads the League with 49 goals and is third with 89 points, has 7 goals and 14 points during his current 10-game scoring streak. Ovechkin, who is seventh in the League and first in the Southeast Division with 219 hits, has taken 116 more shots on goal than any other player in the League.

* Capitals center Tomas Fleischmann is one of six Washington players with at least 17 goals, but he has just 1 goal in his last 15 games, and doesn't have an even-strength goal since Feb. 11.

* Washington has won its last three games after losing its previous four. They have the best power play in the Eastern Conference at 25.0 percent, but the fifth-worst penalty kill at 80.2 percent.

* Thrashers center Bryan Little, who played in the YoungStars Game during All-Star Weekend, is one goal shy of becoming the second Atlanta player to score 30 goals this season. Little, who has 4 goals and 5 points in his last five games, has 4 goals and 7 points in nine career games against the Capitals, including 3 goals and 5 points in three games this season.

* Atlanta defenseman Ron Hainsey, who leads Thrashers defensemen with 35 points, has the second-worst plus-minus on the team with a minus-16 rating. Hainsey has 17 power-play points and 11 third-period assists.

* Thrashers left wing Vyacheslav Kozlov, who usually plays on a line with Bryan Little and Todd White, has 4 assists and 5 points in his last four games. Kozlov, who is just one goal shy of his 11th 20-goal season, has 16 goals and 34 points in 49 career games against the Capitals, including 2 goals and 2 assists in three games this season.

* Nashville defenseman Shea Weber is tied for eighth among Western Conference defensemen with 42 points. He had 14 goals and 32 points in 45 games prior to the All-Star break, but has just 4 goals and 10 points in 23 games since then. Weber, who generally is paired with Ryan Suter, has scored 8 of his 18 goals on the road.

* Predators left wing Steve Sullivan, who wears number 26 because his cousin Bob Sullivan wore it for the Hartford Whalers, has 12 assists and 19 points in 28 games since returning from a back injury that kept him out of the lineup for 142 games. Sullivan, who has 20 assists and 27 points in 31 career games against the Kings, has 7 assists and 11 points in his last nine games.

* Nashville has scored the third-fewest goals in the League with 171, but has the third-best penalty kill in the League at 84.8 percent. The Predators are 15-1-2 when entering the second period with a lead.

* Kings left wing Alexander Frolov, who leads the team with 28 goals, has 6 assists and 8 points in his last six games. Frolov, who has two straight 65-point seasons, needs 11 points in his last 14 games to make it three straight seasons.

* Los Angeles center Michal Handzus, who had just 14 assists and 21 points last season, has 20 assists and 34 points through 68 games this season. He has 3 goals and 6 points in his last six games.

* Kings left wing Dustin Brown, whose favorite road city is Vancouver, leads the Pacific Division and is third in the League with 237 hits after leading the League with 311 last season. He is just 1 assist shy of tying his career-high of 29, which came two seasons ago.

Contact Adam Schwartz at aschwartz@nhl.com.
Quote of the Day

Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.

— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals