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Caps-Wings an enticing Tuesday matchup

NHL.com @NHL
The Detroit Red Wings have a long way to go if they are to make the Stanley Cup Final for a third consecutive season. Even still, their matchup Tuesday night with the Washington Capitals is one that is sure to have NHL fans dreaming of what could be come late May and early June.

Detroit’s visit to the Verizon Center for a 7 p.m. ET start is one of eight games on Tuesday’s schedule.

The Wings have lost consecutive games via the shootout and begin play Tuesday one point out of eighth in the Western Conference. The Capitals, meanwhile, are tied for the lead in the Eastern Conference with 66 points. Alex Ovechkin scored on his 2,000th NHL shot -- a penalty shot, no less -- in their 5-3 win over the Flyers on Sunday. He tied his career high with five points in a 6-1 win over the Maple Leafs on Friday.

Three other games get under way at 7 p.m. The Versus game of the night features the New York Rangers hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Rangers broke out of a scoring slump in a 6-2 win over the Canadiens on Sunday. The Lightning, meanwhile, are coming off a 3-2 victory over the Hurricanes on Monday.

The Columbus Blue Jackets play their second of a back-to-back situation when they visit the Philadelphia Flyers. The Jackets ended the Blues’ four-game winning streak Monday and are seeking a second straight road victory. The Flyers will give Ray Emery a second straight start coming off that loss to the Capitals on Sunday.

The Toronto Maple Leafs will also seek their second win in enemy territory in as many nights when they take on the Atlanta Thrashers. The Leafs blew a three-goal lead but got a late goal from Phil Kessel in Nashville on Monday for a 4-3 win. The Thrashers are coming off a 1-0 loss to Florida in which they were blanked by Tomas Vokoun.

A pair of games begin just half an hour later, as the Chicago Blackhawks continue their eight-game road trip by visiting the Ottawa Senators. Daniel Alfredsson’s natural hat trick helped the Senators to a 5-1 win over the Bruins on Monday. Also, the New York Islanders look to keep their roll going when they face the Pittsburgh Penguins at Mellon Arena.

Two late games conclude Tuesday’s schedule. The Anaheim Ducks, who have won seven straight at Honda Center, host the white-hot Buffalo Sabres at 10 p.m. With a 7-2 win in Phoenix on Monday, the Sabres tied the Capitals for the East lead and improved to 8-0-3 in their last 11 games. The final matchup of the night pits the San Jose Sharks at the Los Angeles Kings at 10:30 p.m. The Sharks routed the Flames 9-1 on Saturday, while the Kings start play Tuesday one point ahead of the Wings for the last playoff spot in the West.
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