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Capitals at Lightning preview

Ovechkin seeks 50th goal for Washington; Tampa Bay trying for 60th win

by Corey Long / Correspondent

CAPITALS (46-24-8) at LIGHTNING (59-14-4)




The Game

The Tampa Bay Lightning can join the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens and 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings as the only teams in NHL history to win 60 games when they play the Washington Capitals at Amalie Arena on Saturday.

Washington has won three straight and leads the Metropolitan Division by three points over the New York Islanders with four games to play. The Capitals have already clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Tampa Bay has clinched the Presidents' Trophy and home ice through the playoffs. The Lightning, who have won eight of their past nine games, will be presented with the Presidents' Trophy before the game.

This is the third meeting between the Lightning and Capitals in the past 12 days. The Lightning won the first two. 


Players to Watch

Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin needs one goal for 50 and would become the third-oldest player (33) in NHL history to accomplish the feat behind Johnny Bucyk (35) and Jaromir Jagr (34).

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos has 12 points (six goals, six assists) in a five-game point streak.


They said it

"I don't think you can change much at the end of the year, right? I feel like with teams like this playing it's all about who will score more. I would love to have an open game, you know, play some hockey and see some great combinations and some terrific 5-on-5. A high compete level game." -- Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov

"It's tough when you play a team three games, in maybe 10 days or 11 days or something like that. I think we found out a little bit each other. That, you know, we both got pretty good and quite frankly they're pretty good hockey games. They are entertaining games. Do I take it as any more than that? Not really." -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper


Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- Tom Wilson

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

Carl Hagelin -- Lars Eller -- Andre Burakovsky

Travis Boyd -- Nic Dowd -- Chandler Stephenson

Matt Niskanen -- Dmitry Orlov

Christian Djoos -- John Carlson

Nick Jensen -- Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby

Pheonix Copley

Scratched: Dmitrij Jaskin, Jonas Siegenthaler

Injured: Brett Connolly (illness), Michal Kempny (lower body)


Lightning projected lineup

Tyler Johnson -- Brayden Point -- Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat -- Steven Stamkos -- J.T. Miller

Alex Killorn -- Anthony Cirelli -- Mathieu Joseph

Adam Erne -- Cedric Paquette -- Yanni Gourde

Victor Hedman -- Mikhail Sergachev

Ryan McDonagh -- Erik Cernak

Braydon Coburn -- Jan Rutta

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Louis Domingue

Scratched: Cameron Gaunce, Ryan Callahan, Danick Martel

Injured: Anton Stralman (lower body), Dan Girardi (lower body)


Status report

Stralman was on the ice for morning skate and practice Friday. He is likely to return to the lineup next week. …Connolly is expected to be out of the lineup with an illness. …Gourde is back in the lineup after a two-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Staal on March 21.


Stat pack

Kucherov has 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in the past nine games. …Ovechkin has 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in the past 10 games. …Vasilevskiy is 17-2-2 with a .933 save percentage and three shutouts in the past 21 starts. …Kuznetsov has nine points (three points, six assists) in the past eight games. 

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