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Capitals at Hurricanes preview

Washington captain two goals from tying Selanne for 11th all-time; Carolina eyes third win in row

by Kurt Dusterberg / Independent Correspondent

CAPITALS (27-9-5) at HURRICANES (24-14-2) 



The Game

Alex Ovechkin will try to climb the NHL all-time goals list when the Washington Capitals visit the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Friday.

The Capitals forward is two goals from tying Teemu Selanne (684) for 11th place among NHL goal-scorers. The Washington captain has 92 points (41 goals, 51 assists) in 79 games against Carolina.

Goalie Ilya Samsonov will start for the Capitals, who lead the Metropolitan Division but have consecutive regulation losses for the first time this season. They're 1-3-0 in their past four games after going 4-1-0 in their previous five games.

The Hurricanes, going for their third straight win following a three-game losing streak, are 8-3-1 in their past 12 games.

Goalie Petr Mrazek will make his second consecutive start; he made 29 saves in a 3-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.


Players to watch

Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom, who has one assist in each of his past three games, has 60 points (15 goals, 45 assists) in 59 games against Carolina.

Hurricanes center Lucas Wallmark has nine points (four goals, five assists) in a seven-game point streak.


They said it

"Obviously, any time you go through a series, and especially when you're on the losing end of it like we were, it always leaves a bit of a bad taste in your mouth. For us, it's something to focus on. Hopefully a lively building and a real good opponent we've struggled with will bring us to a new level tonight." -- Capitals coach Todd Reirden, whose team lost to the Hurricanes in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference First Round last season.

"When you play a team like this, everyone knows you better be on point or it's going to be a tough night. This team [was] the Stanley Cup champs two years ago. It's no secret we're up for a big challenge." -- Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour


Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- Tom Wilson

Jakub Vrana -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- T.J. Oshie

Carl Hagelin -- Lars Eller -- Richard Panik

Brendan Leipsic -- Nic Dowd -- Garnet Hathaway

Jonas Siegenthaler -- John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov -- Nick Jensen

Michal Kempny -- Radko Gudas

Ilya Samsonov

Braden Holtby

Scratched: Travis Boyd

Injured: Christian Djoos (upper body)


Hurricanes projected lineup

Nino Niederreiter -- Sebastian Aho -- Teuvo Teravainen

Andrei Svechnikov -- Jordan Staal -- Warren Foegele

Ryan Dzingel -- Erik Haula -- Martin Necas

Brock McGinn -- Lucas Wallmark -- Jordan Martinook

Jaccob Slavin -- Dougie Hamilton

Jake Gardiner -- Brett Pesce

Haydn Fleury -- Joel Edmundson

Petr Mrazek

James Reimer

Scratched: Trevor van Riemsdyk

Injured: None


Status report 

Van Riemsdyk will be a healthy scratch for the third straight game.


Stat pack 

Ovechkin has four points (two goals, two assists) in a four-game point streak. … The Capitals are 13-0-2 when leading after the first period. … Teravainen has 14 assists in his past 11 games. Aho has 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in 14 games against Washington.

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