The Washington Capitals are in quite the fight to make the playoffs and the Chicago Blackhawks would like nothing more than to add to their misery when the two face off at United Center (7:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN). The Hawks have some motivation of their own as they’re just four points back of the Predators for fifth in the West and five back of fourth.
The Caps were cruising along on a hot streak that saw them win four in a row until they ran into the Winnipeg Jets on Friday. The Caps are just two points up on the Jets and Sabres for eighth and getting back on track with a win would be huge. Leading the way of late for the Caps are Brooks Laich and Marcus Johansson. Laich has four goals in the last six games and Johansson has three assists in the last two games.
What about Alex Ovechkin though? In the Caps’ last five games, Ovechkin has three goals and an assist with two of those tallies coming against the Islanders. It’s decent production, but if the Caps are going to make the postseason they’ll need more out of Ovechkin than just his ability to pick stunning upsets in the NCAA tournament.
One guy the Caps will be going without today is Tomas Vokoun as he’s got a nagging injury. Michal Neuvirth and Braden Holtby will hold things down in the meantime.
Chicago, on the other hand, has started to figure themselves out even without Jonathan Toews in the lineup. While Toews is still battling a concussion, guys like Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, and Patrick Sharp have all elevated their games. The Hawks have been getting solid goaltending as well with Corey Crawford doing his job and it has paid off as Chicago has won six of their last eight games.