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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, March 25th (All times Eastern)

Los Angeles Kings (41-25-6) at Washington Capitals (34-27-11), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Capitals hope to continue their recent surge and help their playoff chances when they host the Los Angeles Kings in Tuesday's inter-conference clash at Verizon Center.

The Capitals enter Tuesday only one point out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Washington has helped its postseason cause in a big way lately, posting a 4-0-1 record over the last five games.

Detroit and Toronto are currently occupying the East's two wild card spots with 80 points apiece. Washington is one point behind the clubs and Columbus, which hosts Detroit on Tuesday, is just one point in back of the Capitals. The Maple Leafs also skate tonight when they host the St. Louis Blues.

In addition to being one point out of the East's final playoff spots, the Capitals are only three back of Philadelphia for third place in the Metropolitan Division. The top three spots in each division earn automatic bids to the playoffs.

Washington's resurgent penalty killing unit has a hand in the club's recent success. The Caps are tied for the 18th-ranked PK in the NHL, but have killed off 17-of-17 penalties during its current five-game point streak. The club also has killed 23-of-25 penalties dating back to March 6.

The acquisition of Jaroslav Halak also has been a boost for the Capitals, but the goaltender missed the club's last game with a lower-body injury. Halak did skate at practice on Monday and could play tonight.

"I think he's fine and he should be ready to play (Tuesday), if we need him," Caps coach Adam Oates said. "We're still talking about it, actually. We've got to make sure he's okay after the (Tuesday morning) skate."

Halak, who came to D.C. earlier this month after a trade with Buffalo, is 4-2-1 with a 2.13 goals against average and .935 save percentage in his first seven outings with Washington.

With Halak out Saturday in San Jose, goaltender Braden Holtby was able to anchor the Capitals' 3-2 shootout win over the Sharks. Holtby came through with 34 saves through regulation and overtime to help Washington complete a three-game road trip with a 2-0-1 record. The lone loss of that swing came in a shootout defeat against this evening's opponent, the Kings.

Nicklas Backstrom buried the game-winner in the third round of the shootout to send the Caps to Saturday's 3-2 win over the Sharks. Eric Fehr and Chris Brown scored in regulation. Brown's goal was his first in 14 career NHL games.

"It was a pretty special feeling obviously," Brown said of his first career goal. "But we got the win. That's the thing that's most important. We got the two points and kept the season alive."

Halak is 6-6-1 with a 2.25 GAA in 13 career games versus the Kings. He took the loss last Thursday in Los Angeles despite stopping 27-of-28 shots through regulation and OT.

Last week's win over the Caps was the sixth straight triumph in this series for L.A. The Kings also have claimed nine of 11 in the matchup and have taken two in a row and four of the past five meetings in D.C.

Los Angeles heads into Tuesday's game riding a three-game winning streak after picking up a victory Monday evening in Philadelphia. The 3-2 regulation win came at the start of a three-game road trip for the Kings.

The Kings squandered a 2-0 lead in the third period, but Dwight King was able to deliver the game-winner at 10:36 of the final stanza. King's tally came 2:18 after Jakub Voracek tied it up at 2-2 for the Flyers.

Jeff Carter and Justin Williams -- both former Flyers -- scored for the Kings and Jonathan Quick stopped 30 shots in the win.

It was the sixth straight road victory for L.A., which is now 20-12-3 as the visiting team this season. The Kings will complete their swing Thursday night in Pittsburgh.

03/25 10:58:00 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NOR 3
DUR 5
 
Final
PIT 0
CAR 10
 
5:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
7:35pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
Final
CIN 7
CHC 2
Final
DET 3
NYY 2
Final
SFG 4
COL 1
Final
BAL 5
TAM 4
Final
NYM 1
ATL 6
Final
CWS 2
CLE 3
Final
KAN 5
MIN 11
Final
HOU 4
TEX 2
Final
ANA 4
OAK 3
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
CIN
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
MIN
 
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
NYY
 
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
BOS
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
PHI
 
7:35pm Tonight
ATL
MIA
 
8:10pm Tonight
KAN
CLE
 
8:10pm Tonight
CWS
DET
 
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
TEX
 
8:15pm Tonight
STL
CHC
 
9:40pm Tonight
ARI
COL
 
10:05pm Tonight
ANA
OAK
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
LOS
 
10:10pm Tonight
SEA
WAS
 
10:15pm Tonight
SFG
MIL
 
Final
SCAR 28
TEXAM 52
Final
LAMON 17
WAKE 10
Final
MISS 35
BSU 13
Final
TULSA 38
TULA 31
Final
WASU 38
RUTG 41
Final
ARST 45
WEBER 14
Final
VANDY 7
TEMPL 37
7:00pm Tonight
UCONN
BYU
7:30pm Tonight
WKENT
BGU
7:30pm Tonight
MSU
JVST
9:00pm Tonight
COL
COLST
9:00pm Tonight
HOU
TXSANANTO
10:30pm Tonight
ARZ
UNLV
Final
JAC 14
ATL 24
 
Final
BUF 0
DET 23
 
Final
CIN 35
IND 7
 
Final
GBP 34
KAN 14
 
Final
PHI 37
NYJ 7
 
Final
MIA 14
STL 13
 
Final
PIT 0
CAR 10
 
Final
NYG 16
NEP 13
 
Final
TAM 10
WAS 24
 
Final
NOS 13
BAL 22
 
Final
CLE 33
CHI 13
 
Final
DAL 3
DEN 27
 
Final
TEN 3
MIN 19
 
Final
HOU 13
SFX 40
 
Final
SDC 12
ARI 9
 
Final
OAK 41
SEA 31
 
Final
NOR 3
DUR 5
 
5:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
7:35pm Tonight
NOR
DUR