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Daily Primer: Ovechkin goes for 400th goal

by John Kreiser

Alex Ovechkin would like nothing more than to reach another career milestone Friday night.

Ovechkin enters the Washington Capitals' game against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh with 399 goals, one shy of becoming the 89th player in NHL history to score 400. Ovi leads the League this season with 28 goals, including one in each of the Capitals' past two games. He's enjoyed a lot of success against the Hurricanes during his career, scoring 25 goals and piling up 67 points in 54 regular-season games.

Here's a look at all of the action Friday night:

New York Islanders at New York Rangers -- The Rangers enter the final third of their franchise-record nine-game homestand with one victory in the first six games. They've gone to a shootout in each of the past two, beating the Calgary Flames and losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Islanders have gone more than six weeks without a regulation victory and are coming off a disheartening 3-2 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday, a game in which they led 2-0 with less than three minutes remaining in regulation.

Washington Capitals at Carolina Hurricanes -- Ovechkin isn't the only Capital having a banner season offensively; center Nicklas Backstrom has 37 points and is fourth in the NHL with 29 assists. Washington will have rookie forward Tom Wilson available after the NHL ruled there would be no supplementary discipline for a hit against Philadelphia Flyers forward Brayden Schenn on Tuesday night. Carolina should be well-rested; the Hurricanes have been off since Saturday night when they wrapped up a road trip with a 3-1 victory against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Anaheim Ducks at New Jersey Devils -- The Ducks come to Newark to start a stretch of three games in four nights before the Christmas break, after which they will have played 24 times on the road and 15 at Honda Center, where they are 13-0-2. Anaheim's Corey Perry has 10 goals in his past 11 games. New Jersey is trying to sweep a three-game homestand that has seen the Devils beat the Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators, both with Martin Brodeur in goal. Expect Cory Schneider to play against the Ducks, with Brodeur likely to play Saturday night in Washington.

Vancouver Canucks at Chicago Blackhawks -- The Canucks come to United Center to face the Blackhawks after being beaten 4-1 by the Dallas Stars on Thursday, a game in which they trailed 2-0 before the first TV timeout and never recovered. Chicago had a much-needed two-day break after a stretch of 19 games in 34 games. The Blackhawks went 13-5-1 in that span and lead the NHL with 55 points. Patrick Kane has 18 points during a 10-game point streak and is second in the scoring race with 46 points, five behind Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Florida Panthers at Winnipeg Jets -- A week in Canada has turned out to be just what the Panthers needed to get on a roll. Florida comes to MTS Centre with a five-game winning streak, including a 4-2 win against the Senators on Thursday that followed road victories against the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs. The Jets, last in the Central Division, are back home after a 4-2 road loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday. However, Winnipeg should have defenseman Zach Bogosian back in the lineup after he missed 15 games with a groin injury. The Jets were 5-7-3 in his absence.

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