Preview: Capitals at Lightning

Monday, December 7, 2009

When: 7:30 p.m.

Records: Washington 18-5-6, Tampa Bay 11-9-8.

Where: St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, Fla.

He's back: Alex Ovechkin will return from a two-game suspension as the Capitals seek to set a franchise record for consecutive wins against a single opponent with their 12th straight triumph over the Lightning. The Capitals have thrived in Ovechkin's absence. In the eight games the two-time MVP has missed because of injury or suspension, Washington has averaged 4.5 goals, received tallies from 15 different players and posted a 6-2-0 record.

Carcillo disciplined: The NHL has suspended Philadelphia's Daniel Carcillo four games without pay for sucker-punching Matt Bradley during the Capitals' 8-2 victory Saturday. Carcillo received 29 minutes in penalties and was ejected; Bradley, who suffered a gash on his left cheek and did not return, could play Monday, Coach Bruce Boudreau said. Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said he did not agree with the punishment, while Boudreau called Carcillo an "idiot" and the punch "a dirty play." Carcillo, a repeat offender, will forfeit $43,597.56 of his salary.

Power surge: The Capitals might not have a bona fide enforcer, but they have something that should make opponents think twice before taking liberties -- the NHL's best power play. With four goals Saturday, the unit's success rate jumped to 24.6 percent. Brooks Laich leads the team and is tied for sixth overall with six power-play tallies; Mike Green has 14 power-play points, good for a tie for sixth overall and second among defensemen behind Toronto's Tomas Kaberle's 15.

-- Tarik El-Bashir

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