Preview: Capitals Hope to Continue Surge Against Canes

The Washington Capitals are rolling and it looks like they can’t be stopped. They’ve won all but one game since the All-Star break, and hope to keep the streak going against the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday.

With a victory, the Capitals will be the first team to hit 80 points this season and will increase their already comfortable lead over the Metropolitan Division, as well as the NHL. Either way, this team is the closest to Stanley Cup-ready than we’ve seen in recent years.

They will face off against Carolina, who suffered a four-game losing skid before the All-Star break but is now riding an impressive three-game winning streak. Carolina did, though, fall to Washington 6-1 on Jan. 26.

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Carolina Hurricanes at Washington Capitals

Verizon Center- 7:00 p.m. EST

Broadcast channels – CSNMA, FCSR

2016-17 Season Series:

Nov. 12- Capitals 1 Hurricanes 5

Dec. 16- Capitals 4 Hurricanes 3 (SO)

Jan. 26- Hurricanes 6 Capitals 1

Washington Capitals – 36-11-6, 78 Points

Home Record: 21-5-1

Hot Players: Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Brett Conolly

Projected Lines:

Forwards

Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Justin Williams

Brett Connolly-Lars Eller-Andre Burakovsky

Daniel Winnik-Jay Beagle-Tom Wilson

Defense

Karl Alzner-John Carlson

Dmitri Orlov- Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik-Nate Schmidt

Goaltender

Braden Holtby

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Carolina Hurricanes – 24-20-7, 55 Points

Home Record: 7-14-6

Hot Players: Jordan Staal, Teuvo Teravainen, Sebastian Aho

Projected Lines:

Forwards

Jeff Skinner-Derek Ryan-Lee Stempniak

Sebastian Aho-Jordan Staal-Elias Lindstrom

Brock McGinn-Victor Rask-Teuvo Teravainen

Joakim Nordstrom-Jay McClement-Viktor Stalberg

Defense

Jaccob Slavin-Justin Faulk

Ron Hainsey-Brett Pesce

Noah Hanifin-Klas Dahlback

Goaltender

Eddie Lack


Game Notes

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]Nicklas Backstrom and Brett Connolly are both riding impressive point streaks. Backstrom has at least a point in four straight games, while Connolly has scored in three consecutive matchups. This just goes to show that the team has decent scoring and playmaking all the way down the lineup. While Connolly is proving his worth to the organization, Backstrom leads the team in points by a large margin, and is no longer going under the radar.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap]Hurricanes rookie Sebastian Aho is having a breakout second-half of the season. The 19-year-old winger is becoming a force on the top six and has points in three of his last five games. He had a hat trick and a four-point performance in the team’s dominant victory over the Flyers on Jan. 31, and his hot streak has continued. Washington will have to shut him down if they want to win this hockey game.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap]Jordan Staal appears to be finding his scoring touch, and has points in four of his last five games. He is riding a three-game point streak, as is Teuvo Teravainen. With the Hurricanes’ offence finding its touch, this team is showing potential when it comes to competing against deep, competitive high-scoring teams like the Capitals.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]Braden Holtby will get the nod against the Hurricanes. He has been outstanding in his career against Carolina, going 10-4-0 and putting up a 1.84 GAA and .944 save mark. Eddie Lack will get the start for the Hurricanes following a conditioning stint with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers. Lack hasn’t started a game since November and has been out with concussion issues.