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Hawks to face Caps in star-studded NBC matchup

Thursday, 02.24.2011 / 6:30 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

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Hawks to face Caps in star-studded NBC matchup
There will be plenty of offensive firepower on display when the Washington Capitals play host to the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks on March 13 at Verizon Center in the NBC Sports NHL "Game of the Week," the League and NBC Sports announced Thursday.

Chicago is in a fight for the chance to defend its first title in 39 years. The Blackhawks currently sit in ninth place in the Western Conference, tied with two other teams at 68 points and two points shy of a four-team logjam above them. Captain Jonathan Toews leads the Blackhawks with 55 points, one more than 2011 All-Star Game MVP Patrick Sharp.

Washington is fifth in the Eastern Conference, and trails Tampa Bay by three points in the quest for a fourth consecutive Southeast Division title. The Capitals struggled after a hot start to the season but won 3 of the final 4 games on their recent road trip.

Captain Alex Ovechkin is far off his typical goal-scoring pace, but he leads the Capitals with 24 goals and 62 points. Ovechkin does have 9 goals in the past 15 games -- a big improvement from 9 in the previous 35.

This will be the first time these two teams meet since March 14 when Washington rallied from 3 goals down in the third period to beat Chicago 4-3 at United Center on an overtime goal from Nicklas Backstrom. Ovechkin was ejected from that game for a hit on Chicago's Brian Campbell that earned him a two-game suspension.

It is the first time these two clubs will meet at Verizon Center since October 11, 2008. Back then Barack Obama was a Senator from Illinois three weeks away from the election that would seal his move to Washington and make him the 44th President of the United States.

Hockey fans in the United States can watch the game live on nhl.com and nbcsports.com.
Quote of the Day

When we started our journey we made a commitment to our fans to be relevant and to see the Chicago Blackhawks become the best professional hockey organization. There are not two finer symbols of that than Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The commitment we have made to these incredible young men is equal to the commitment they have made to our team, our fans, our entire organization and the city of Chicago.

— Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz on signing Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to contract extensions