Blackhawks, Capitals on a roll heading into matchup (Jan 13, 2017)
WASHINGTON -- The Washington Capitals' home ice has lately been a graveyard for visiting teams' winning streaks and now it's the Chicago Blackhawks' turn to try their luck.
The Central Division-leading Blackhawks (27-12-5) bring a four-game winning streak into Friday's game with the Capitals, who are on a streak of their own. Washington (27-9-5) has won seven straight and along the way ended runs by Columbus (16 games) and Pittsburgh (five games) at Verizon Center.
Alex Ovechkin's goal at 35 seconds of the first period got the Capitals started against the Penguins on Wednesday night. It was Ovechkin's 1,000th career point and he added a power play goal in the second period.
Washington also got goals from Justin Williams, Nicklas Backstrom and Lars Eller.
"We're getting contributions from everyone," said Williams, whose goal was his 12th of the season. "If you look at the time on ice, we're spreading it around pretty good so everyone feels a part of it and everyone's contributing, which is vital to success."
Backstrom, who had a goal and three assists, added, "We've been talking a lot about details -- being in the right position, playing smart and puck management. I feel like when do that we usually have a good game."
It also helps to have a goaltender as hot as Braden Holtby, who has allowed three goals in his last four games. He'll bring a 5-2 career record and 2.55 goals-against average against Chicago into Friday's game. That includes a 3-2 overtime win at Chicago in November.
The Blackhawks' four straight wins have all come at home, including Tuesday night's 4-3 overtime affair against the Red Wings. Chicago improved to 17-6-5 in one-goal games.
"We'd like to win by a little bit more of a cushion," defenseman Brian Campbell told the Chicago Sun-Times. "At least we're in every game, I guess."
Against Detroit, the Blackhawks led 2-0, trailed 3-2 and won in overtime on Duncan Keith's goal
"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 whatnot. I thought we did what we had to."
Keith is one of four Blackhawks with more than 30 points, led by top-10n NHL scorers Patrick Kane (12 goals, 33 assists) and Artemi Panarin (17 goals and 25 assists). The Blackhawks have also been getting scoring from the third line of Ryan Hartman, Tanner Kero and Richard Panik, which scored two goals on Tuesday night after Hartman's hat trick on Sunday.
"They have some physicality in the puck area, they have some separation," coach Joel Quenneville told the Tribune.
Crawford is 3-3-2 with a 3.26 GAA against Washington. Marian Hossa has 25 goals and 33 assists in 53 games against the Capitals.
Ovechkin, who has eight goals and four assists in 13 games against Chicago, has four goals and three assists in his last five games overall.
Washington has outscored opponents 29-11 during its season-high winning streak.
"Yeah, we're winning," Ovechkin said, "but I'm hoping our best hockey's going to be a little bit later."