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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, March 8th (All times Eastern)

Phoenix Coyotes (29-23-11) at Washington Capitals (29-25-10), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The struggling Washington Capitals will try to halt a three-game slide when they welcome Martin Erat and the Phoenix Coyotes for Saturday's battle at Verizon Center.

The Capitals won their first two games after the Olympic break to extend their winning streak to four games overall, but the club then was swept by Philadelphia in a home-and-home series before losing Thursday's test in Boston.

The recent 0-2-1 skid has pushed Washington out of a playoff spot in the East, but the Caps enter Saturday just three points behind Detroit for the conference's final postseason berth.

The Caps were handed a 3-0 loss in Boston and managed to put only 16 shots on net in the loss. Both Washington and the Bruins went the entire game without committing a penalty.

"The killer instinct isn't there right now and it needs to be there because we're running out of time," noted Caps defenseman Karl Alzner.

Braden Holtby was solid for Washington in the loss, making 40 saves. The Caps will turn to Jaroslav Halak in net on Saturday, as the netminder gets set to debut for his new team.

Halak was acquired before Wednesday's trade deadline from Buffalo, with Washington flipping a piece picked up from Phoenix in order to gain the veteran backstop's services.

The Caps picked up forward Chris Brown, defenseman Rostislav Klesla and a fourth-round pick in the 2015 draft from the Coyotes on Tuesday in exchange for Erat and John Mitchell. Klesla was then sent to the Sabres along with goaltender Michal Neuvirth in exchange for Halak and a third-round pick in 2015.

It was the second time Halak was traded in the span of a days. He moved from St. Louis to Buffalo last Friday in the deal that moved former Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller to the Blues. The 28-year-old Halak did not play with Buffalo, but he was 24-9-4 with a .917 save percentage and 2.23 goals-against average in 40 games with the Blues this season.

Erat, who had one goal and 23 assists in 53 games with the Capitals this season, made his debut with Phoenix on Thursday. The Czech winger failed to reach the scoresheet but the Coyotes beat the visiting Montreal Canadiens by a 5-2 score.

Phoenix won for the second straight time in Thursday's tilt versus the Habs. The victory ended a three-game homestand, but the Coyotes hope to continue the winning streak when they open a four-game road trip on Saturday.

Erat's countryman Radim Vrbata scored two goals to help Phoenix beat Montreal and snap the Coyotes' 14-game winless streak against the Canadiens.

Shane Doan and Oliver Ekman-Larsson both had a goal and one assist for the Coyotes, who notched their first victory over Montreal since Dec. 9, 1998. The Canadiens had won nine straight and 11 of the previous 14 meetings, with the other three ending in ties.

"We talked about coming out like we did in the first and I think we did a pretty good job in the third," Ekman-Larsson said.

Mike Smith picked up the win with 24 saves, including 11 in a second period that was dominated by Montreal.

Phoenix improved to 19-11-3 as the host after Thursday's victory, but the club is just 10-12-8 on the road this season.

Like Washington, the Coyotes are fighting to get back into the playoff picture. Phoenix is one point behind the Dallas Stars for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

Phoenix recorded a 4-3 shootout win when the Capitals visited the desert back on Nov. 9, giving the Coyotes victories in two of three and four of the last six meetings. Washington, which is 17-10-5 as the host this season, has won the last two encounters in D.C.

03/08 10:48:02 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 4
TOR 1
Final
DUKE 66
UCONN 56
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
CHA
 
Final
CHI 103
NYK 97
Final
HOU 90
NOP 99
Final
SAC 107
MIL 108
Final
GSW 114
OKC 109
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
CHA
 
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
UTA
 
7:30pm Tonight
CLE
BRK
 
7:30pm Tonight
BOS
MIN
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
TOR
 
7:30pm Tonight
MIA
WAS
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
CHI
 
8:00pm Tonight
SAN
POR
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
LAC
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
OKC
 
Final
RICE 72
STTHOMASTX 61
 
Final
UVA 70
CLST 54
Final
LIU 69
FIU 58
 
Final
STET 67
GSOUT 76
 
Final
QUIN 80
LEH 65
 
Final
SFLA 69
SHU 89
Final
RICH 65
SALA 54
Final
CAN 60
USB 59
 
Final
DEL 62
TEMPL 82
Final
WCU 56
WRST 69
 
Final
VERM 56
YALE 57
 
Final
SDKST 75
IDST 72
 
Final
RIDE 62
MRGST 48
 
Final
LATU 79
NICST 54
 
Final
CHAR 75
APP 65
Final
MISS 71
CCAR 68
 
Final
DUKE 66
UCONN 56
Final
BRAD 80
EUREK 38
 
Final
PEAY 76
OAKC 52
 
Final
JST 66
SMISS 46
 
Final
SD 55
MNTST 53
 
Final
UAB 70
LSU 79
Final
EVAN 81
OHIO 69
 
Final
CSFU 72
CSDH 50
 
Final
ORST 90
DEP 59
Final
PAC 69
NEV 65
Final
USF 77
PORST 40
 
Final
IDAHO 86
WALLA 39
 
Final
UTST 57
CALST 56
 
1:30pm Today
YOUNG
WILB
 
2:00pm Today
TULA
JST
 
6:00pm Tonight
RAD
SIENA
 
7:00pm Tonight
MERC
COOK
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUCK
CASEWEST
 
7:00pm Tonight
LIB
CPNC
 
7:00pm Tonight
SCAR
CLEM
 
7:00pm Tonight
CMICH
CONC
 
7:00pm Tonight
MIAMI
EKENT
 
7:00pm Tonight
GWEBB
HIWASSEE
 
7:00pm Tonight
ODU
MDES
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
NIAG
 
7:00pm Tonight
KSU
NCAT
 
7:00pm Tonight
FAM
UNF
 
7:00pm Tonight
NORST
NARZ
 
7:00pm Tonight
DART
NILL
 
7:00pm Tonight
MORE
NKENTUCKY
 
7:00pm Tonight
UCSB
SDCHR
 
7:00pm Tonight
STJ
GAELS
 
7:00pm Tonight
ALA
STILL
 
7:00pm Tonight
HAMP
TENST
 
7:00pm Tonight
TENN
TENT
 
7:00pm Tonight
WMARY
WSHMD
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLGC
FUR
 
7:30pm Tonight
CALST
SDKST
 
8:00pm Tonight
MTST
CHAT
 
8:00pm Tonight
NDAK
DICKINSON
 
8:00pm Tonight
LAMON
LSUALEX
 
8:00pm Tonight
PRIN
LIP
 
8:00pm Tonight
LAM
MLGN
 
8:00pm Tonight
MINN
SEAT
 
8:00pm Tonight
LOYC
SUTAH
 
8:00pm Tonight
SELA
WINT
 
8:05pm Tonight
SILL
NO
 
9:00pm Tonight
MARQ
ALAAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
TTU
ARKPB
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
COLST
 
9:00pm Tonight
CREI
TXPA
 
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
EWASH
 
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
IDST
 
11:00pm Tonight
UTEP
ARZ
 
11:59pm Tonight
CHAM
HAW
 
Final
PIT 1
COL 0
Final
PHI 1
FLA 2
Final
CAR 4
TOR 1
Final
CLB 4
WAS 5
Final
MON 1
ANA 2
Final
SJS 4
EDM 3
Final
LOS 6
STL 4
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
TAM
 
7:30pm Tonight
OTT
ANA
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
NYI
 
8:00pm Tonight
WIN
BOS
 
9:00pm Tonight
CAL
DAL
 
Final
JAC 21
TEN 13