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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, January 17th (All times Eastern)

Washington Capitals (22-17-8) at Columbus Blue Jackets (22-20-4), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The surging Columbus Blue Jackets will try to extend their longest winning streak of the season to five games when they host the struggling Washington Capitals in Friday's battle at Nationwide Arena.

Columbus has won four straight games and is one victory away from matching the club's longest winning streak from last season. The Blue Jackets also are only two consecutive victories shy of tying the franchise record of six straight wins, which was set from March 24-April 3, 2006.

The Blue Jackets should be well rested heading into Friday's game, as they've been idle since picking up their fifth win in six games on Monday when they defeated the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning.

The 3-2 regulation win over the Lightning was Columbus' eighth victory in 11 tries. The recent surge has moved the Blue Jackets within four points of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Washington is currently occupying the eighth seed with 52 points.

Columbus trailed 2-1 heading into the third period on Monday, but Nathan Horton and Mark Letestu each notched power-play goals over the final 20 minutes to help lift the Jackets to victory. Horton tied the contest 3:09 into the third period and Letestu recorded the game-winner with just 2:38 left.

Letestu's big tally came after Tampa's Tyler Johnson went off for hooking with just under four minutes remaining and after a few opportunities on the man advantage, the hosts converted. Jack Johnson launched a shot from the point and Letestu redirected the shot to beat Anders Lindback.

"It seemed like we were fighting the whole first period on our power plays. We got it when it mattered and counts. We needed the power plays at the end there and those were big goals," said Horton.

Ryan Johansen supplied the other goal, while Johnson had two assists for the Blue Jackets, who have won three of their last four at home and are 11-9-2 in Columbus this season.

Sergei Bobrovsky turned aside 26 shots to win his fifth straight start. Bobrovsky is 3-0 since returning from a month-long absence due to a groin strain on Jan. 6. With Columbus playing tonight and on Saturday in Buffalo, the club's No. 1 goaltender could get a rest in one of those two games.

Bobrovsky is 1-1-2 with a 2.63 goals against average in five career games against Washington. Backup Curtis McElhinney is 4-3-1 with a 2.42 GAA in eight lifetime starts versus the Caps.

Columbus has yet to defeat the Capitals this season, going 0-1-1 in the first two of four scheduled meetings this season between the Metropolitan Division foes. However, both of those previous encounters in 2013-14 were staged in D.C.

Washington has won five straight overall against the Blue Jackets, but the Caps enter Friday's tilt having lost three straight and seven of their last nine games.

After losing two straight games in shootouts, the Capitals were left without a point following Wednesday's entertaining 4-3 loss in Pittsburgh. Washington held leads of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 in the game, but couldn't prevent the Penguins from setting a franchise record with their 13th straight home win.

The game was tied at 2-2 heading into the final 20 minutes before Alex Ovechkin gave the Capitals a one-goal lead with his NHL-leading 34th goal of the season at the 8:35 mark. However, Jussi Jokinen tallied three minutes later for the Pens and Olli Maatta scored the eventual game-winning goal with 1:54 remaining in the third.

The regulation setback dropped Washington to 2-3-4 over their last nine games. The Caps also fell to 8-9-4 on the road, a mark that pales in comparison to the club's 14-8-4 mark on home ice.

Brooks Laich and Jason Chimera supplied the other goals for Washington, which got 33 saves from Michal Neuvirth.

"We figured out a way to get a lead in the third against a fresher team and we didn't sustain it and you have to be able to," said Washington head coach Adam Oates.

The Caps are playing the second of three straight on the road. The three-game swing is part of a stretch that has Washington playing eight of nine games away from the nation's capital.

01/17 10:37:13 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHI 5
CAR 2
Final
SAV 49
NCCU 62
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
LAL
7:00pm Tonight
GT
UNC
9:00pm Tonight
CLEM
NCSU
Final
MIA 7
FIU 2
 
Final
DET 12
FLASO 2
 
1:05pm Today
DET
BAL
 
1:05pm Today
MIA
MIAFLA
 
1:05pm Today
PHI
NYY
 
1:05pm Today
BOS
NEASTERN
 
1:07pm Today
TOR
PIT
 
3:05pm Today
CIN
CLE
 
3:05pm Today
OAK
SFG
 
4:05pm Today
BOS
BOSTONCOLL
 
5:10pm Tonight
ARI
ASU
 
Final
PHI 103
TOR 114
Final
BRK 110
GSW 108
Final
MIA 115
PHO 98
Final
MIN 105
LAC 110
Final
DAL 102
NOP 93
7:00pm Tonight
CLE
BOS
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
LAL
7:00pm Tonight
NYK
SAC
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
HOU
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
UTA
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CHI
WAS
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
MIL
Final
TEX 61
BAY 59
Final
SYR 47
UVA 59
Final
SHSU 76
CARK 49
 
Final
NWST 92
SELA 79
 
Final
NCAT 67
COOK 50
 
Final
HOW 61
NORST 59
 
Final
DELST 85
HAMP 75
 
Final
STEPH 83
INCWORD 62
 
Final
MCNST 70
LAM 69
 
Final
NO 79
NICST 89
 
Final
SAV 49
NCCU 62
 
Final
ALAAM 75
TXSOU 77
 
Final
VT 59
BC 66
Final
MVSU 66
GRAM 62
 
Final
ISU 77
OKLA 70
Final
ALAST 65
PVU 67
 
Final
ARKPB 64
JST 62
 
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UMO
AKR
 
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NAVY
ARMY
 
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BST
EMICH
 
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BUT
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IND
IOWA
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USCU
KNST
 
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BGU
KSU
 
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NKENTUCKY
LIP
 
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HC
GHND
 
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RUTG
MD
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GT
UNC
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OHIO
 
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ALA
MISS
7:00pm Tonight
DAY
RIU
7:00pm Tonight
CMICH
TOL
 
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DET
YOUNG
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UNF
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8:00pm Tonight
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HOUB
 
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WMICH
 
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UGA
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NW
MICH
9:00pm Tonight
CLEM
NCSU
9:00pm Tonight
UF
TEXAM
9:00pm Tonight
KU
WVU
9:15pm Tonight
CREI
VILL
Final
NYR 4
NAS 1
Final
CHI 5
CAR 2
Final
SJS 4
MON 0
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
CAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
NAS
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
WAS
 
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
BUF
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
OTT
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
NYI
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
ANA
 
9:30pm Tonight
EDM
LOS
 
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
SJS