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Capitals-Lightning Preview @NHLdotcom
Capitals-Lightning Preview

GAME: Washington Capitals (19-28-5) at Tampa Bay Lightning (28-21-4).

TIME: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have had no problems killing penalties recently. It is taking advantage of other teams' infractions at home where they hope to improve as they play the Washington Capitals.

The Lightning have gone 6-1-1 in their last eight games to move into seventh place in the Eastern Conference, five points ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Tampa Bay has killed off 28 of 29 penalties in that span.

But scoring on the power play at home has been an equal rarity for Tampa, which has scored just two man-advantage goals in 42 opportunities spanning its last eight home games. One of those goals came in Wednesday's 3-2 shootout victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Ryan Craig's power-play goal early in the third period tied the game 2-2, and Vincent Lecavalier and Brad Richards scored goals in the shootout to give the Lightning the victory.

"It could have went either way," Lecavalier said. "We'll take the two points."

The Lightning also have had troubles solving Washington's penalty-killing, converting just 2 of 34 chances in the five games between the teams this season.

Washington won for just the second time in six games with Friday's 4-1 victory over the Maple Leafs. Chris Clark and Ben Clymer each had a goal and an assist for the Capitals, who welcomed rookie star Alexander Ovechkin in the lineup.

"That was our best, likely our best overall game of the season," Washington coach Glen Hanlon said. "I thought we had more control of the puck than we have a lot of other nights, and so we ended up taking a lot less amount of penalties (than) we have gotten in the past."

Ovechkin, who missed Wednesday's loss to the New York Islanders with a groin injury, had an assist. The Russian left wing has just one goal in his last six games, but has three goals and three assists in five games against the Lightning.

STANDINGS: Capitals - 43 points, 5th place, 35 PB, Southeast Division. Lightning - 60 points, 2nd place, 18 PB, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Capitals - Ovechkin, 34 goals, 32 assists and 66 points; Brendan Witt, 125 PIM. Lightning - Fredrik Modin, 22 goals; Vaclav Prospal, 37 assists and 55 points; Pavel Kubina, 76 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Capitals - Power play: 14.2 percent (44 for 310), 29th in NHL. Penalty killing: 79.4 percent (285 for 359), 26th. Lightning - Power play: 14.1 percent (44 for 313), 28th. Penalty killing: 83.5 percent (213 for 255), 12th.

GOALTENDERS: Capitals - Olaf Kolzig (15-20-5, 0 SO, 3.38 GAA); Brent Johnson (4-7-0, 0, 4.01). Lightning - John Grahame (19-15-1, 4, 2.67); Sean Burke (9-5-3, 1, 2.49).

SEASON SERIES: Capitals, 3-1-1.

LAST MEETING: Sunday; Capitals, 2-1. At Washington, Dainius Zubrus scored the game-winning goal with 2:20 to play for the Capitals. Grahame made 33 saves for the Lightning.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Capitals - 6-16-1 on the road; Lightning - 14-9-2 at home.

Associated Press
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