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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, December 20th (All times Eastern)

Washington Capitals (18-13-3) at Carolina Hurricanes (14-13-7), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Carolina Hurricanes will try to improve to 3-0 against the Washington Capitals when they host Friday's Metropolitan Division clash at PNC Arena.

The Hurricanes already have earned at least a split of the four-game season series against the Caps, winning a pair of road meetings earlier in the campaign.

Carolina notched a 3-2 regulation win in D.C. on Nov. 10 and then recorded a 4-1 decision on Dec. 3. Despite those wins, the Capitals have still taken four of the last seven overall meetings in this series and Washington also has claimed two straight and six of the past eight encounters in Raleigh.

The Hurricanes, who are 4-1-2 over their last six outings, enter Thursday's divisional battle in fourth place in the Metro standings, one point behind Philadelphia for the division's last automatic playoff berth. The Flyers are off on Friday, but they pulled ahead of Carolina after Thursday's home win over Columbus.

Carolina halted a three-game slide in its last trip to the ice, as it salvaged the final test of a four-game road trip by winning in Phoenix last Saturday. The well-rested Hurricanes hope to pick up where they left off tonight, as they aim to build off Saturday's 3-1 win in the desert.

The 'Canes were tied at 1-1 with the Coyotes after two periods before Jeff Skinner notched the game-winner three minutes into the final stanza. The score remained 2-1 until Eric Staal registered an empty-net goal to seal it with six seconds left.

Nathan Gerbe also scored and Staal totaled three points on a goal and two assists. Justin Peters made 37 saves for the win.

Skinner has scored a goal in three straight games and has eight tallies over his last seven contests. He also has two goals and three assists in Carolina's two wins against the Caps this season.

"When you're getting chances, that's the way it goes sometimes. We're creating chances as a line and I've been lucky to capitalize on a few," said Skinner.

Beginning with tonight's tilt, the Hurricanes will play four of their next six games on home ice. Carolina is 7-6-4 as the host this season.

The Capitals will try to bounce back from just their second regulation loss in the last nine games when they take the ice on Friday. Washington dropped a 5-2 decision Tuesday in Philadelphia, dropping the club to 6-2-1 over the last nine outings.

Washington posted a 5-4 shootout win in the opener of a home-and-home series with visiting Philadelphia on Sunday, but the Flyers answered back with a victory in their home portion of the series. The loss dropped the Caps to 6-6-3 as the road club this season, a record that pales in comparison to Washington's 12-7-0 mark as the host.

With the scored tied at 2-2 late in the second period, Philadelphia was given a five-minute power play after Flyers forward Brayden Schenn was drilled by Washington's Tom Wilson, who was given a 10-minute misconduct for the charge. The Flyers made the Caps pay by scoring twice during the lengthy advantage, with Mark Streit and Jakub Voracek tallying the goals for Philly.

Wilson had a disciplinary hearing with the league for his hit, but was informed on Thursday that he will not be suspended.

"To be honest with you, I don't think it was a dirty play," Wilson's teammate Alex Ovechkin said. "He saw the hit coming, he turned, and Willy (Tom Wilson) is a big boy. It's always dangerous out there, it's hockey. When you get hit, you have to be ready, especially at the boards. I don't think he was ready, I think he was going to turn, but Willy just finished his check."

Ovechkin and Eric Fehr scored on Tuesday for the Capitals, who had won four of five heading into the finale of the home-and-home. Braden Holtby allowed five goals on 35 shots in the loss.

Mikhail Grabovski is expected to return tonight after the forward missed the last two games for the Capitals. Meanwhile, Carolina defenseman Brett Bellemore and forward Elias Lindholm are questionable for Thursday's clash.

12/20 10:56:47 ET

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Schedule

Monday, April 21Full Scoreboard
Pittsburgh 4/21 7:00 PM ET
Columbus NBCSN, CBC, ROOT, FSN-OH
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Three. Series tied, 1-1.
Colorado 4/21 7:00 PM ET
Minnesota TSN, NHL Net, Altitude
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Three. Colorado leads series, 2-0.
St. Louis 4/21 8:30 PM ET
Chicago CNBC, CBC, FSN-MW, CSN
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Three. St. Louis leads series, 2-0.
Anaheim 4/21 9:30 PM ET
Dallas NBCSN, TSN, RDS
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Three. Anaheim leads series, 2-0.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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    Saturday at 1:05 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
12:05pm Today
NOR
DUR
 
2nd
BOS 0
BAL 0
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
CIN
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
KAN
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
ANA
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CWS
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
MIA
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
STL
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
ARI
8:10pm Tonight
MIL
SDP
8:40pm Tonight
COL
SFG
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
TEX
10:10pm Tonight
SEA
HOU
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
PHI
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
MEM
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
GSW
7:00pm Tonight
MIN
COL
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
PIT
8:30pm Tonight
CHI
STL
9:30pm Tonight
DAL
ANA
12:05pm Today
NOR
DUR