Ny Nicolino Dibenedetto
Washington (48-23-8) at Atlanta (34-39-6), 7:00 p.m. EST
ATLANTA (AP) -- With the race for the best record in the Eastern
Conference over, the Washington Capitals are trying maintain
their hold on second place.
The Capitals begin their season-ending three-game road trip
looking to sweep a home-and-home set from the Atlanta Thrashers
on Tuesday night.
Washington (48-23-8) has clinched its second consecutive
Southeast Division title, but lost the battle for the top seed
in the Eastern Conference to Boston. The Capitals' focus now is
on holding onto the second spot, as they're two points ahead of
The Capitals visit Tampa Bay on Thursday before finishing the
regular season at Florida on Saturday.
Washington improved its chances for the No. 2 seed Sunday,
winning 6-4 over Atlanta (34-39-6) behind four third-period
The Caps have won three of four while scoring at least five
goals in each victory, although they didn't get a goal from
Alexander Ovechkin on Sunday. Instead, six of his teammates
found the back of the net, while Ovechkin came up empty on 11
"It's great to finally have some scoring from all over the
place," said Washington right wing Eric Fehr, who scored for
only the second time in 17 games. "Ovie's been carrying the
workload pretty much all year."
Ovechkin did extend his point streak to eight games with two
assists against the Thrashers. The All-Star left wing has six
goals and 11 assists in that span, and leads the NHL with 55
goals. He's second with 106 points, two behind Pittsburgh's
Ovechkin will try to close that gap Tuesday. He has 23 goals and
47 points versus the Thrashers - his highest totals against any
Ovechkin has 14 goals and 11 assists in 14 games at Philips
Arena, but has been held without a point in two games there this
season - both losses.
Washington was outscored 12-5 in those road defeats to the
Thrashers, but won the other three meetings at home.
Atlanta is looking to rebound from Sunday's loss that snapped a
four-game winning streak. Three of the victories came against
"We kept up for two periods," Thrashers defenseman Tobias
Enstrom said, "and it seemed like we got a little tired in the
third and they ran us down a little bit."
The Thrashers may be eliminated from playoff contention, but
Ilya Kovalchuk continues his hot play. The All-Star left wing
has a goal in six of the last seven games, and 21 goals and 19
assists in the last 23. He's been held without a point only
three times in that stretch.
Kovalchuk is fourth in the league behind Ovechkin with 42 goals
and scored a goal in each of the last two meetings with