WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 29: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals shoots on goalie Cam Ward #30 of the Carolina Hurricanes during the first period at the Verizon Center on March 29, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
The Caps welcome the 'Canes to Verizon Center for the third of a four-game homestand Sunday.
The Washington Capitals are one of the NHL's best home teams; only three more teams have more than the Caps' 33 points at Verizon Center. In the midst of a four-game homestand, Washington hopes to improve on that record again against the Carolina Hurricanes in a Sunday matinee.
The Caps are 2-0 so far on their current homestand, having defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 1-0 Wednesday and the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 Friday. Washington has won six of eight overall and in doing so, has control of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes look up at the Caps along with 12 other teams as they currently sit in 13th place. That did not seem to matter, however, as Carolina defeated the second-seeded and defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins 4-2 Saturday. Jay Harrison's game-winning goal with 90 seconds left sealed the Hurricanes' third victory over the Bruins this season and fifth in their last 10 games overall.
More good news for the Hurricanes could come in the form of the return of Jeff Skinner, who has missed 16 consecutive games with a concussion. Skinner participated in Carolina's morning skate before Saturday's game against the Bruins.
The Caps will look to take advantage of another tired team; the Hurricanes, like the Penguins and Lightning, are going to be playing in the second of back-to-back games. Making things tougher for Carolina will be Washington's recent dominance at home; the Caps have not trailed at any point in their last six games at Verizon Center.