FLAMES (41-27-4) @ CAPITALS (46-17-8)
BROADCAST: 5 P.M. MT; Sportsnet West (TV), Sportsnet960 The Fan (radio)
SEASON SERIES: The Caps lead the series 1-0 after beating the Flames 3-1 on Oct. 30 at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Marcus Johansson led Washington with two goals - his second an empty-netter late in the third period - and Brett Connolly also scored for the visitors, who outshot the Flames 29-22 in the contest. Alexander Ovechkin was held to just one assist. Mikael Backlund replied for Calgary while Brian Elliott was in net for the loss.
CAPITALS' TEAM SCOPE: T.J. Oshie's hat-trick paced the Caps to a 5-3 win over the Lightning in Tampa Bay on Saturday night. The victory lifted Washington to the century mark in points on the season as they clinched a playoff berth, their ninth in the last 10 years. They were the first NHL team to lay claim to a spot in the post-season dance. However, prior to that victory, the Capitals had been struggling, losing five of their previous seven games as they were outscored 21-13 over that period. "We've got a great team here," Oshie told Capitals.com after the Tampa Bay victory. "I've been fortunate to be at the end of the scoresheet a couple of times, but more importantly, we're getting our game back to where we want it to be, so it feels good." Oshie's 29 goals on the season is tops amongst Capitals players, one better than Ovechkin. Nicklas Backstrom is the team points leader with 75, a full 16 ahead of The GR8. The Capitals have posted a 28-6-2 record at home this season and have earned a point in 22 of their last 24 home games.
FLAMES' TEAM SCOPE: The Flames are coming off a dominating 5-2 win over the L.A. Kings Sunday night at the 'Dome. Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan were named the first and second stars of the game, respectively, each scoring once and collecting three points on the night. Brian Elliott won his franchise-tying 11th straight game, turning aside 19 shots. Elliott, who matched Mike Vernon's mark set during the 1988-89 Stanley Cup winning season, can set the new standard with a victory tonight in Washington. "The timely saves are the ones that are key this time of year," said captain Mark Giordano, when asked about Elliott's play following the win over the Kings. "There was one in the third that got him in the shoulder. I was on the ice and I thought it was in the net. He comes up with the big saves at the right times." The Flames are 17-3-1 since Jan. 26 (they have the most wins and points, 35, in the league since that time) and have won 12 of their last 13 games. Gaudreau has led the club with 23 points and 17 assists in those 21 games. The Flames have an 18-12-1-0 record versus the Eastern Conference this season and they are 7-7-1-0 against the Metropolitan Division