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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, March 20th (All times Eastern)

Washington Capitals (33-27-10) at Los Angeles Kings (38-25-6), 10:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The suddenly-sliding Los Angeles Kings will try to return to the win column on Thursday when they host the streaking Washington Capitals at Staples Center.

The up-and-down Kings have gone 0-3-0 on the heels of a season-best eight-game winning streak. Prior to claiming eight consecutive victories, however, Los Angeles had gone through a 1-8-1 stretch from Jan. 18-Feb. 3.

Despite the inconsistency, L.A. is still holding onto the last of the Pacific Division's three automatic bids to the playoffs. The Phoenix Coyotes, however, are just five points behind the Kings in fourth place, and L.A. dropped a home test against the Coyotes in its most recent outing.

The Kings hope to end their slide on Thursday by continuing their recent success against the Capitals.

L.A. has won five straight and 10 of the past 14 meetings in this series, although the teams haven't faced each other since the Kings notched a 5-2 home win on Jan. 9, 2012. That was Washington's third straight setback in the City of Angels.

The Kings are 0-3 so far on a five-game homestand that ends Saturday against Florida. Los Angeles last played in Monday's game against Phoenix, which picked up a 4-3 regulation win at Staples Center thanks to Jeff Halpern's game-winning goal with 3:05 left in the third period.

With the game tied 3-3 late in the third, a Phoenix counterattack saw a blocked shot ricochet into the left circle, where Halpern was waiting all alone. With Jonathan Quick scrambling following the change of direction, Halpern threw a shot on net that the LA netminder appeared to stop from his back before making another incredible save on the rebound attempt to keep the game tied.

However, at the next stoppage, video review showed Halpern's shot fully cross the goal line before Quick's stick knocked it back into play.

Marian Gaborik, Alec Martinez and Tanner Pearson all lit the lamp, while Quick stopped 23 shots for the Kings, who entered the game 21-0-0 this season when leading after two periods.

"I don't think I played well enough," Quick admitted. "You give up four goals you are going to lose games. I got to be better."

Quick hopes to get back on track tonight. He is 2-0-0 with a 2.50 goals against average and .931 save percentage in two lifetime appearances against the Capitals.

Kings captain Dustin Brown has missed the last two games with an illness but expects to return for Thursday's tilt.

Washington, meanwhile, enters Thursday's clash on the strength of three consecutive wins. The first two victories came in D.C., but the Capitals kicked off a three-game tour of California with a Tuesday's 3-2 win at Anaheim.

The Capitals most likely will have to stay hot to make the postseason. Washington enters Thursday tied with Columbus for the last playoff spot in the East, but the Blue Jackets, who visit Montreal on Thursday, hold two games in hand over Washington.

The Detroit Red Wings, who host Pittsburgh on Thursday, are also just one point behind the Caps and Jackets. Detroit also has played two games less than Washington.

Washington began its California swing with Tuesday's 3-2 win over the Ducks. Alex Ovechkin netted the game-winner on the power play 2:44 into the third period to lift the Caps to victory.

Anaheim's Mathieu Perreault potted a power-play goal to tie the tilt at 1:32 of the third, but Ducks forward Matt Beleskey went off for slashing at 2:36 and Ovechkin buried a one-timer from the low left circle just eight seconds into the ensuing man-advantage to put Washington on top for good.

It was Ovechkin's 46th goal of the season, giving him eight more than Anaheim's Corey Perry for the NHL lead.

Joel Ward and Troy Brouwer registered a goal apiece, while Jaroslav Halak stopped 43 shots for the Capitals.

Halak is 4-2-0 with a 2.35 GAA and .931 save percentage in six games since coming over from Buffalo in a trade. He is 6-6-0 with a 2.38 GAA in 12 career games against the Kings.

Washington had lost three straight on the road before Tuesday's win in Orange County and is just 13-16-5 as the guest this season. The Caps are set to complete this swing Saturday night in San Jose.

03/20 10:52:50 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
DUKE 47
TULA 13
Final
ECU 70
UNC 41
Final
TOWSN 31
NCCU 20
 
Final
NCSU 42
PRES 0
 
1:30pm Today
CAR
CLB
 
8:30pm Tonight
CAR
PIT
Final
KAN 2
DET 3
Final
CHC 8
LOS 7
Final
OAK 0
PHI 3
Final
NYY 3
TOR 6
Final
COL 5
ARI 1
Final
BAL 7
BOS 2
Final
PIT 0
MIL 1
Final
TAM 3
CWS 1
Final
MIN 3
CLE 7
Final
ATL 2
NYM 4
Final
HOU 10
SEA 1
Final
MIA 2
WAS 3
Final
STL 8
CIN 4
Final
SDP 3
SFG 2
Final
ANA 8
TEX 5
1:05pm Today
NYY
TOR
 
1:10pm Today
MIA
WAS
 
1:35pm Today
BAL
BOS
 
1:35pm Today
PIT
MIL
 
1:35pm Today
ATL
NYM
 
1:40pm Today
TAM
CWS
 
2:10pm Today
MIN
CLE
 
2:10pm Today
KAN
DET
 
2:10pm Today
HOU
SEA
 
2:20pm Today
CHC
LOS
 
3:35pm Today
ANA
TEX
 
4:05pm Today
OAK
PHI
 
4:10pm Today
COL
ARI
 
4:10pm Today
SDP
SFG
 
8:05pm Tonight
STL
CIN
 
Final
WISC 68
BGU 17
Final
MSU 73
EMICH 14
Final
VT 24
GT 27
Final
PITT 20
IOWA 24
Final
RICE 42
ODU 45
Final
UGA 66
TROY 0
Final
SYR 20
MD 34
Final
DUKE 47
TULA 13
Final
COL 21
HAW 12
Final
AKR 17
MARS 48
Final
WAKE 24
ARMY 21
Final
KU 24
CMICH 10
Final
ALA 42
UF 21
Final
FIU 3
LOU 34
Final
ECU 70
UNC 41
Final
NAVY 24
RUTG 31
Final
SMU 6
TEXAM 58
Final
MICH 10
UTAH 26
Final
BYU 41
UVA 33
Final
WYO 20
FATL 19
Final
MIZZ 27
IND 31
Final
PSU 48
UMASS 7
Final
MINN 24
SJST 7
Final
ILL 42
TXST 35
Final
WASH 45
GASTATE 14
Final
SMISS 21
APPST 20
Final
TOL 34
BST 23
Final
OHIO 36
IDAHO 24
Final
CIN 31
UMO 24
Final
MEM 36
MTST 17
Final
LSU 29
MSST 34
Final
ARK 52
NILL 14
Final
ARKST 21
UTST 14
Final
SALABAMA 6
GASO 28
Final
WVU 33
OKLA 45
Final
VANDY 34
SCAR 48
Final
NEB 41
MIAMI 31
Final
NMST 35
NMU 38
Final
HOU 47
UNLV 14
Final
FSU 23
CLEM 17
Final
ARZ 49
CAL 45
Final
ORST 28
SDST 7
Final
WASU 31
OREG 38
Final
BSU 34
LALAF 9
1:30pm Today
CAR
CLB
 
5:00pm Tonight
WAS
BUF
 
6:30pm Tonight
CLB
STL
 
8:00pm Tonight
EDM
CAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
CAL
EDM
 
1:00pm Today
CLE
BAL
1:00pm Today
STL
DAL
1:00pm Today
DET
GBP
1:00pm Today
NYG
HOU
1:00pm Today
JAC
IND
1:00pm Today
NOS
MIN
1:00pm Today
NEP
OAK
1:00pm Today
BUF
SDC
1:00pm Today
CIN
TEN
1:00pm Today
PHI
WAS
4:05pm Today
ARI
SFX
4:25pm Today
SEA
DEN
4:25pm Today
MIA
KAN
8:30pm Tonight
CAR
PIT
Final
TOWSN 31
NCCU 20
 
Final
NCSU 42
PRES 0