LIGHTNING (11-9-3) at CAPITALS (15-5-1)
TV: SUN, CSN-DC
Season series: The Washington Capitals won two of three games against the Tampa Bay Lightning last season. Nicklas Backstrom had three goals and three assists, and Alex Ovechkin had two goals and three assists for Washington. Tyler Johnson had four points (one goal) to lead Tampa Bay, and Steven Stamkos (one goal, two assists), Nikita Kucherov (one goal, two assists) and Victor Hedman (three assists) each had three points.
Lightning team scope: Tampa Bay has won three straight after a 2-1 shootout victory against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday. Goalie Ben Bishop made 37 saves through overtime and two more in the shootout to earn the victory. Forward Jonathan Drouin, who missed the past four games with an undisclosed injury, skated at practice Thursday but will not be available for the game, coach Jon Cooper told the Tampa Bay Times.
Capitals team scope: Washington has won three straight, and Evgeny Kuznetsov, who had a goal and two assists Wednesday in a 5-3 victory against the Winnipeg Jets, has two three-point games in his past three. Right wing Chris Brown was recalled from his conditioning stint at Hershey of the American Hockey League. Goalie Braden Holtby, whose 13 wins lead the NHL and 1.95 goals-against average is second, will start and could play each game this weekend, coach Barry Trotz said. Trotz will decide after the game whether Holtby will play Saturday at the Toronto Maple Leafs. "We don't play for a few days after, so it's one of those decisions we'll let it play out,'' Trotz said after practice Thursday. "The decision will be based on, probably what's best for [Holtby] and what we're trying to accomplish as an organization with him.''