Preview: Flames at Capitals

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Preview: Flames at Capitals

Offseason acquisition Brian Elliott didn't turn many heads with his play to begin the season, but the veteran goaltender certainly has the league's attention now. With 11 consecutive victories under his belt, Elliott will look to eclipse Mike Vernon's franchise-record win streak on Tuesday as the red-hot Calgary Flames vie for their 13th triumph in 14 outings on Tuesday when they visit the Washington Capitals.

"I think any time you're mentioned in the same sentence as a guy like Mike Vernon, it's an accomplishment," said the 31-year-old Elliott, who has yielded just 19 goals during his impressive win streak and earned the NHL's Third Star of the Week honors on Monday. Elliott owns a 15-1-1 mark since Jan. 26, a stretch that has seen Calgary post a 17-3-1 record to announce its presence among the heavyweights in the Pacific Division. Washington punched its playoff ticket for the ninth time in 10 seasons with Saturday's 5-3 victory over Tampa Bay, improving to 2-0-1 in its last three after a season-high four-game skid. T.J. Oshie recorded his third career hat trick and added an assist to increase his point total to 14 (nine goals, five assists) in the past 13 contests.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, Sportsnet West (Calgary). CSN Mid-Atlantic (Washington), NHL.TV

ABOUT THE FLAMES (41-27-4): While Elliott is receiving rave reviews for his recent play, the netminder fell on his face to begin the season with losses in 10 of his first 13 outings (3-9-1) - although his 26-save performance in a 3-1 setback to Washington on Oct. 30 was hardly cause for concern. Johnny Gaudreau (team-leading 52 points) and Sean Monahan (club-best 23 goals) did not record a point in that contest, but each had a goal and two assists in Sunday's 5-2 win against Los Angeles. Gaudreau has collected 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in his last 13 games while Monahan has 14 (four goals, 10 assists) in the same stretch.

ABOUT THE CAPITALS (46-17-8): Nicklas Backstrom (team-leading 54 assists, 75 points) set up four goals on Saturday, increasing his assist total to eight in his last four games while pushing his point total to 11 (two goals, nine assists) in his last eight. The 29-year-old Swede joined captain Alex Ovechkin with an assist in the first meeting with Calgary, and the latter had the same against the Lightning to give him four points (one goal, three assists) in the last four outings. Fellow forward Washington C Marcus Johansson scored twice in the teams' first encounter but has just one goal in March.

OVERTIME

1. Calgary rookie LW Matthew Tkachuk received a two-game suspension from the NHL on Monday for his elbow to the face of Kings D Drew Doughty.

2. Capitals G Braden Holtby, who stopped 21 shots in the first meeting with the Flames, has answered a three-game skid with two wins in three outings.

3. Calgary captain Mark Giordano, who has scored a goal in back-to-back contests, has six tallies and as many assists in his last 15 games.

PREDICTION: Capitals 4, Flames 3

03/20/2017 22:36

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