National Hockey League
Preview
Washington at Columbus
When: 7:00 PM ET, Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

The Washington Capitals look to further strengthen their hold on the top wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday. Washington halted a three-game slide with a 4-0 triumph over Toronto on Sunday as captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice to increase his league-leading goal total to 41 and added an assist while Braden Holtby posted his seventh shutout of the campaign. With the triumph, the Capitals moved seven points ahead of Boston in the wild-card standings and remained three behind Pittsburgh for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Penguins maintained their three-point lead Sunday by handing Columbus its sixth consecutive defeat. Ryan Johansen recorded a short-handed goal and an assist in the 5-3 loss while defenseman James Wisniewski netted a power-play tally in his final game as a Blue Jacket. Washington and Columbus both are 2-1-1 in the five-game season series, with each posting an overtime victory on the road.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, RSN, CSN-DC (Washington), FSN Ohio (Columbus)

ABOUT THE CAPITALS (34-20-10): Curtis Glencross is expected to make his debut for Washington on Tuesday, two days after being acquired from Calgary. The veteran practiced Monday on a line with Troy Brouwer and rookie Evgeny Kuznetsov, where he likely will begin his stint with the club. "I had a lot of fun out there," Glencross said. "There is lots of chatter and they're always having fun out there. ... I'm excited to get in the lineup and help out as much as I can." Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom are tied with Philadelphia's Jakub Voracek and John Tavares of the New York Islanders for the league scoring lead with 65 points apiece.

ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (26-32-4): Columbus unloaded a pair of veteran defensemen prior to Monday's trade deadline, sending James Wisniewski and a third-round pick in the 2015 draft to Anaheim for forwards Rene Bourque and William Karlsson, as well as a second-rounder this year, and shipping Jordan Leopold to Minnesota for fellow blue-liner Justin Falk and a 2015 fifth-round pick. The deal involving Leopold was filled with irony as his 11-year-old daughter Jordyn wrote a letter to the Wild that surfaced before the transaction requesting the club to acquire her father so he could be close to his family, which resides in Minnesota. "The deal was done already when we saw it, almost simultaneously I guess, but that's a touching letter," general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. "There is a human side, believe it or not, to our business. I think that it's great that he can go home, join his family."

OVERTIME

1. Columbus LW Nick Foligno has recorded four goals and three assists against the Capitals, while Brouwer has netted three tallies and set up another for Washington.

2. The Capitals assigned C Andre Burakovsky, who registered nine goals and 12 assists in 48 games, to Hershey of the American Hockey League.

3. The Blue Jackets signed RW Cam Atkinson to a three-year contract extension worth $10.5 million, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

PREDICTION: Capitals 4, Blue Jackets 3
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div
Washington 34-20-6-4 W1 18-8-2-3 16-12-4-1 5-3-1-0 29-17-5-4 13-7-4-0
Columbus 26-32-2-2 L6 12-17-1-1 14-15-1-1 0-3-0-0 26-29-2-2 9-9-2-1
Last Meeting
Washington Columbus
Date Away Home Shots Saves PP Shots Saves PP
1/27/15 WAS 3 CLB 4 28 26 0-3 30 25 0-5
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Total Points Player  
Washington E. Kuznetsov 2
Columbus C. Atkinson 2
Goals Player  
Washington T. Brouwer 1
Columbus C. Atkinson 1
Assists Player  
Washington M. Niskanen 2
Columbus N. Foligno 2
Saves Player  
Washington B. Holtby 26
Columbus C. McElhinney 25
Season
Total Points Player  
Washington N. Backstrom 68
Columbus N. Foligno 63
Goals Player  
Washington A. Ovechkin 44
Columbus N. Foligno 27
Assists Player  
Washington N. Backstrom 50
Columbus N. Foligno 36
Saves Player  
Washington B. Holtby 1522
Columbus S. Bobrovsky 1080
Quickchart Matchup
Washington Off vs  Columbus Def
2.89 GF
3.13 GA
29.6 Shots
32.9 Shots
46 PP
43 PK
Columbus Off vs  Washington Def
2.52 GF
2.42 GA
28.4 Shots
28.9 Shots
40 PP
39 PK