Preview: Blackhawks at Capitals

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[January 13, 2017]  The Washington Capitals snapped the Chicago Blackhawks' seven-game winning streak in their first encounter and look to put an end to their four-game run on Friday when the teams meet at the Verizon Center. Washington is on quite the streak of its own, having won a season-high seven in a row to join Chicago in residing within one point of Columbus for the NHL's best record.

"Yeah, we're winning, but I'm hoping our best hockey's going to be a little bit later," said captain Alex Ovechkin, who eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau after scoring twice in Wednesday's 5-2 victory over Pittsburgh. The three-time Hart Trophy winner has 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in 15 contests and 12 (eight goals, four assists) in 13 career games versus Chicago, although he was kept off the scoresheet in Washington's 3-2 overtime win on Nov. 11. Defenseman Duncan Keith notched an assist in that contest and scored and set up a goal in Tuesday's 4-3 overtime victory over Detroit to extend his current point streak to five games (one goal, five assists). "We've been finding ways to win," Keith told the Chicago Tribune. "We do a lot of good things. But there have been times where we still have to be better, whether it's lapses in the game or what not."

TV: 7 p.m. ET, NHL Network, CSN Chicago, CSN Mid-Atlantic (Washington)

ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (27-12-5): Veteran Marian Hossa scored and set up a goal in the first meeting with Washington to up his career total to 58 points (25 goals, 33 assists) in 53 encounters. Hossa has notched an assist in two of his last four games since working his way back in the lineup following a five-game absence due to an upper-body injury. Corey Crawford has yielded 13 goals in his last five outings (4-1-0), but saw his career mark dip to 3-3-2 against Washington after surrendering three tallies in the first meeting.

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 ABOUT THE CAPITALS (27-9-5): Veteran forward Nicklas Backstrom collected a goal and three assists on Tuesday to increase his team-leading point total to 38, with 29 coming in his last 27 games. The 29-year-old Swede is riding high with two goals and six assists in his last four contests overall and has eight points (three goals, five assists) in nine career outings with the Blackhawks. Countryman Marcus Johansson scored in overtime in the teams' first meeting in November, although he has yet to find the back of the net in six contests in January.


1. Chicago RW Ryan Hartman notched a pair of assists against the Red Wings to give him 10 points (five goals, five assists) in his last 11 games.

2. Capitals D John Carlson left Thursday's practice with a lower-body injury, although coach Barry Trotz told the Washington Post that it was "just a little maintenance."

3. Blackhawks F Marcus Kruger (hand) is expected to start skating on Friday, although his return to game action is still over one week away, coach Joel Quenneville told the Chicago Sun-Times.

PREDICTION: Blackhawks 4, Capitals 2

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