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Capitals-Hurricanes Preview @NHLdotcom

GAME: Washington Capitals (22-38-9) at Carolina Hurricanes (46-17-6).

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Washington Capitals look to avoid their longest losing streak in nearly a quarter century when they visit the Southeast Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes.

Washington, on a season-high seven-game road trip, saw its skid reach eight games with a 4-3 overtime defeat to Tampa Bay on Thursday. The losing streak is the Capitals' longest since they also dropped eight in a row in 1989-90, and they haven't lost nine straight since a 13-game slide in 1981-82.

Alexander Ovechkin continued his solid play for Washington on Thursday with two goals and an assist, but the Capitals couldn't hold three one-goal leads in falling to 0-1-1 on the trip. Washington has lost its last five road games and has an NHL-low seven victories away from home this season.

"We had our chances," Washington coach Glen Hanlon said.

Ovechkin's goals were his 45th and 46th of the season and boosted his NHL-leading rookie point total to 89, which is tied for sixth-most in franchise history. He has three goals and four assists during a four-game point streak.

Carolina avoided a third straight loss with a 4-3 win over Buffalo on Wednesday in the finale of a four-game trip.

The Hurricanes took a 4-0 lead late in the second period on Justin Williams' 25th goal of the season and held on after allowing the Sabres to score three times in the first 13 minutes of the third.

"I didn't expect it to be the game-winner, but I guess we needed it," said Williams, who also added an assist. "It's two points and we'll get the heck out of here."

Eric Staal had an assist to extend his point streak to seven games, during which he has three goals and six assists.

Carolina, battling Ottawa for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, is beginning a four-game homestand. The Hurricanes have won four in a row at the RBC Center, and are tied with Nashville for the most home victories in the league with 27.

Carolina is hoping to get center Doug Weight (groin) and defenseman Bret Hedican (lower body injury) back in the lineup after both sat out Wednesday's win.

STANDINGS: Capitals - 53 points, 5th place, 45 PB, Southeast Division. Hurricanes - 98 points, 1st place, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Capitals - Ovechkin, 46 goals, 43 assists and 89 points; Chris Clark, 94 PIM. Hurricanes - Staal, 42 goals, 49 assists and 91 points; Mike Commodore, 103 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 23): Capitals - Power play: 14.3 percent (60 for 420), 29th in NHL. Penalty killing: 77.9 percent (367 for 471), 30th. Hurricanes - Power play: 18.2 percent (83 for 456), 11th. Penalty killing: 82.3 percent (307 for 373), 15th.

GOALTENDERS: Capitals - Olaf Kolzig (17-26-9, 3.57 GAA); Brent Johnson (5-11-0, 4.03). Hurricanes - Martin Gerber (33-11-4, 3 SO, 2.69); Cam Ward (13-6-2, 3.52).

SEASON SERIES: Hurricanes, 2-1.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 21; Capitals, 5-2. At Washington, an ailing Kolzig made 31 saves despite throwing up between periods, and Matt Pettinger and Brooks Laich both had a goal and an assist for the Capitals.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Capitals - 7-21-3 on the road; Hurricanes - 27-5-1 at home.

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