Monday, December 31, 2007

Game #40 Washington Capitals vs. Ottawa Senators

Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC

When: January 1, 2008, 4:00 PM

History:
Caps Record on this Date: 12-6-3-1
Caps Game 40 Record: 12-16-3-1
All-Time vs. OTT: 26-26-5-0
Last Season vs. OTT: 2-2-0
Last Meeting: 12/29/07, WAS 8 OTT 6

This Year:
WAS Record: 15-19-5
Standings Points: 35
Division Rank: 4th
Conference Rank: 14th
Last Game: 12/29/2007, WAS 8 OTT 6
Streak: Won 1

OTT Record: 25-9-4
Standings Points: 54
Division Rank: Tied 1st
Conference Rank: 1st
Last Game: 12/29/2007, OTT 6 WAS 8
Streak: Loss 1

Probable Line-Ups:
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 25 KOZLOV
Forward Line 2: 43 FLEISCHMANN, 92 NYLANDER, 28 SEMIN
Forward Line 3: 53 LAING, 39 STECKEL, 10 BRADLEY
Forward Line 4: 87 BRASHEAR, 15 GORDON, 21 LAICH
Defense Pair 1: 26 MORRISONN, 2 POTHIER
Defense Pair 2: 52 GREEN, 23 JURCINA
Defense Pair 3: 3 POTI, 55 SCHULTZ
Goalie: 37 KOLZIG
Back-up Goalie: 35 CASSIVI

Ottawa
Forward Line 1: 15 HEATLEY, 19 SPEZZA, 11 ALFRESSON
Forward Line 2: 20 VERMETTE, 22 KELLY, 10 DONOVAN
Forward Line 3: 37 MCAMMOND, 12 FISHER, 25 NEIL
Forward Line 4: 71 FOLIGNO, 27 ROBITAILLE, 16 MCGRATTAN
Defense Pair 1: 4 PHILLIPS, 14 MESZAROS
Defense Pair 2: 6 REDDEN, 7 CORVO
Defense Pair 3: 5 SCHUBERT, 2 RICHARDSON
Goalie: 29 GERBER
Back-up Goalie: 1 EMERY

Injuries:
Washington – 14 FEHR (hip) IR, 17 CLARK (groin) IR, 1 JOHNSON
Ottawa – 24 VOLCHENKOV (fractured finger) IR, 44 EAVES (shoulder) IR

Caps Milestones:
Matt Pettinger needs 3 Points to reach 100 for his career
Alexander Semin needs 5 Shots on Goal to reach 400 for his career
Michal Nylander needs 2 Goals to reach 200 for his career
Donald Brashear needs 4 Points to reach 200 for his career

Preview:
The Capitals will rematch with Ottawa on the back half of a home-and-home series on New Year’s Day. The first game was an exciting 8-6 win by the Caps with Alex Ovechkin scoring 4 goals and an assist for a five point night. It was the second time the Caps went on the road into Ottawa and knocked off the #1 team in the Eastern Conference. With the last game fresh in their mind the Senators will look to exact a little revenge against the Capitals who climbed out of the Eastern Conference basement with Saturday’s win. The Caps who have registered standings points in 9 of their last 11 games are within 5 points of the 7th place team in the east. On the flip side, they are only 2 points out of the cellar. Look for the Caps to try and play the same style of game as they did on Saturday but with a little less scoring by the Senators. They need to start becoming more consistent at home as they have a 7-10-1 home record up to this point. No better place to start than against the Senators.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 5 OTT 2

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Game #39 Recap - Capitals 8 Senators 6

As I drove down I-95 to Tampa with my wife and 2 and 1/2 year old, I had time to ponder many things. How would the Caps respond after the devastating defeat to Pittsburgh on Thursday? Would Alex Ovechkin even play after getting cut by a skate? There was no coverage of the NHL through rural South Carolina and it was only after reaching our hotel at some ungodly hour did I find out I had missed an amazing performance by the Caps and Ovechkin. The Caps, for the second time this season, went into Ottawa and beat the Senators. Putting a season-high 8 goals on the board. The win put the Caps 2 points ahead of the Tampa in the Southeast Division and out of the cellar. The two teams will rematch on New Years Day in Washington. I remain hopeful as the Caps have moved into 14th place in the conference and only 5 points out of 7th place. But they always seem to be 5 points away from something, so I will enjoy this one and look forward to a repeat performance on Tuesday.

Of Note:
  • Alex Ovechkin career highs in goals with 4 and points with 5. He is now second in the league with 30 goals and on an incredible 63 goal pace.
  • Shaone Morrisonn played in his 200th game as a member of the Capitals.
  • Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom each had 1 goal and 2 assists.
  • Michal Nylander scored 2 goals and Mike Green had 2 power play assists.
  • Both teams scored 2 goals on 4 attempts with the man advantage.
  • The goalies would like for their stats not to be released.
  • The Capitals have recorded standings points in 9 of their last 11 games.
Official Recap
Game Summary
Super Stats

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Game #38 Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins

Where: Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, PA

When: December 27, 2007, 7:30 PM

History:
Caps Record on this Date: 5-7-1-1
Caps Game 38 Record: 14-15-3-0
All-Time vs. PIT: 75-85-16-2
Last Season vs. PIT: 0-3-1
Last Meeting: 10/20/07, WAS 1 PIT 2

This Year:
WAS Record: 14-19-4
Standings Points: 32
Division Rank: 5th
Conference Rank: 15th
Last Game: 12/26/2007, WAS 3 TAM 2
Streak: Won 1

PIT Record: 18-16-2
Standings Points: 38
Division Rank: Tied 3rd
Conference Rank: Tied 8th
Last Game: 12/23/2007, PIT 4 BOS 2
Streak: Won 1

Probable Line-Ups:
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 92 NYLANDER, 25 KOZLOV
Forward Line 2: 43 FLEISCHMANN, 19 BACKSTROM, 28 SEMIN
Forward Line 3: 18 PETTINGER, 39 STECKEL, 10 BRADLEY
Forward Line 4: 87 BRASHEAR, 21 LAICH, 53 LAING
Defense Pair 1: 26 MORRISONN, 2 POTHIER
Defense Pair 2: 52 GREEN, 23 JURCINA
Defense Pair 3: 3 POTI, 55 SCHULTZ
Goalie: 37 KOLZIG
Back-up Goalie: 1 JOHNSON

Pittsburgh
Forward Line 1: 10 ROBERTS, 87 CROSBY, 20 ARMSTRONG
Forward Line 2: 12 MALONE, 71 MALKIN, 17 SYKORA
Forward Line 3: 37 RUUTU, 11 STAAL, 27 LARAQUE
Forward Line 4: TAFFE, 16 CHRISTENSEN, 18 HALL
Defense Pair 1: 55 GONCHAR, 3 EATON
Defense Pair 2: 58 LETANG, 5 SYDOR
Defense Pair 3: 19 WHITNEY, 4 SCUDERI
Goalie: 30 SABOURIN
Back-up Goalie: 35 CONKLIN

Injuries:
Washington – 14 FEHR (hip) IR, 17 CLARK (groin) IR, 15 GORDON (hand fracture) IR
Pittsburgh – 3 EATON (knee) DTD, 25 TALBOT (ankle) IR, 29 FLEURY (ankle) IR

Caps Milestones:
Matt Pettinger needs 3 Points to reach 100 for his career
Brian Pothier needs 1 Points to reach 100 for his career
Michal Nylander needs 4 Goals to reach 200 for his career
Donald Brashear needs 5 Points to reach 200 for his career

Preview:
The Capitals will try and build on last night’s win over the Tampa Bay Lightning as they head into Pittsburgh to face the Penguins. To keep winning they are going to need to get production from the third and fourth lines as they did last night. David Steckel had a goal and two assists and Matt Bradley had the game-winning goal and an assist in the victory. Pittsburgh has not been kind to the Capitals in recent history. The Caps are 0-4-1 in their last 5 games against the Penguins. Look for the Capitals to try and control the tempo of the game and try to match up against the Penguins #1 line. They will force the play from the offensive zone and force Pittsburgh to make plays against them. Also, look for the night’s feature bout between Donald Brashear and Big Georges Laraque. The game and the bout to Washington.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 4 PIT 2

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Game #37 Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC

When: December 26, 2007, 7:00 PM

History:
Caps Record on this Date: 8-12-3-0
Caps Game 37 Record: 10-15-6-1
All-Time vs. TAM: 44-24-6-4
Last Season vs. TAM: 2-4-2
Last Meeting: 12/22/07, WAS 3 TAM 2

This Year:
WAS Record: 13-19-4
Standings Points: 30
Division Rank: 5th
Conference Rank: 15th
Last Game: 12/22/2007, WAS 2 NYI 3
Streak: Loss 3

TAM Record: 15-18-3
Standings Points: 33
Division Rank: 4th
Conference Rank: 14th
Last Game: 12/22/2007, TAM 1 CAR 4
Streak: Loss 1

Game 1: 10/24/07, WAS 5 TAM 3
Game 2: 11/10/07, WAS 2 TAM 5
Game 3: 11/16/07, WAS 2 TAM 5
Game 4: 12/15/07, WAS 3 TAM 2

Probable Line-Ups:
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 18 PETTINGER
Forward Line 2: 43 FLEISCHMANN, 92 MICHAL NYLANDER, 28 SEMIN
Forward Line 3: 87 BRASHEAR, 39 STECKEL, 10 BRADLEY
Forward Line 4: 21 LAICH, 25 KOZLOV, 53 LAING
Defense Pair 1: 26 MORRISONN, 55 SCHULTZ
Defense Pair 2: 52 GREEN, 23 JURCINA
Defense Pair 3: 3 POTI, 4 ERSKINE
Goalie: 37 KOLZIG
Back-up Goalie: 1 JOHNSON

Tampa
Forward Line 1: 20 PROSPAL, 4 LECAVALIER, 26 ST. LOUIS
Forward Line 2: 21 DARCHE, 19 RICHARDS, 16 WARD
Forward Line 3: 17 HLAVAC, 77 GRATTON, 36 ROY
Forward Line 4: 24 KARLSSON, 74 TARNASKY, 29 MACDONALD
Defense Pair 1: 54 RANGER, 71 KUBA
Defense Pair 2: 55 O’BRIEN, 37 LUKOWICH
Defense Pair 3: 39 LUNDIN, 3 JANIK
Goalie: 40 HOLMQVIST
Back-up Goalie: 30 DENIS, 31 RAMO

Injuries:
Washington – 14 FEHR (hip) IR, 17 CLARK (groin) IR, 15 GORDON (hand fracture) IR, 2 POTHIER (thumb fracture) IR
Tampa – 29 MACDONALD (mouth lacerations), 7 OUELLET (shoulder) DTD, 34 CRAIG (knee) IR, 22 BOYLE (wrist) IR, 27 TAYLOR (hip) IR

Caps Milestones:
Alex Ovechkin will play in his 200th career NHL game.
Olie Kolzig needs 1 game to pass Kevin Hatcher for 9th on the Capitals All-Time games played list with 686 games.
Matt Pettinger needs 3 Points to reach 100 for his career
Brian Pothier needs 2 Points to reach 100 for his career
Michal Nylander needs 4 Goals to reach 200 for his career
Donald Brashear needs 5 Points to reach 200 for his career

Preview:
The Capitals will try to end a three game losing skid as the Tampa Lightning come calling to the Phone Booth tonight. The Caps did perform very well in their last game but managed to get a standings point in an overtime loss to the New York Islanders. Alexander Semin appears to be regaining his form from last year as he has goals in 3 straight games and points in 4 straight. Bruce Boudreau was named full Head Coach today; lifted from his “interim” status. Since taking over Boudreau is 7-5-3. Look for the Caps to come out extremely hard tonight and press the attack. The Caps need to start piling up the wins if they want to turn the season around and Tampa is a good team to start against. They are 4th in the Southeast Division and have had major goalie problems and may play rookie Karri Ramo in the net. I think the Caps have the edge in this one.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 4 TAM 3

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Game #36 Washington Capitals at New York Islanders

Where: Nassau Veterans’ Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY

When: December 22, 2007, 7:00 PM

History:
Caps Record on this Date: 5-7-1-0
Caps Game 36 Record: 13-14-5-0
All-Time vs. NYI: 80-79-13-0
Last Season vs. NYI: 1-3-0
Last Meeting: 10/18/07, WAS 2 NYI 5

This Year:
WAS Record: 13-19-3
Standings Points: 29
Division Rank: 5th
Conference Rank: 15th
Last Game: 12/20/2007, WAS 2 MON 5
Streak: Loss 2

NYI Record: 16-15-2
Standings Points: 34
Division Rank: 5th
Conference Rank: 12th
Last Game: 12/21/2007, NYI 4 PIT 2
Streak: Won 1

Game 1: 10/8/07, WAS 2 NYI 1
Game 2: 10/18/07, WAS 2 NYI 5

Probable Line-Ups:
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 18 PETTINGER
Forward Line 2: 43 FLEISCHMANN, 92 MICHAL NYLANDER, 28 SEMIN
Forward Line 3: 87 BRASHEAR, 39 STECKEL, 10 BRADLEY
Forward Line 4: 21 LAICH, 25 KOZLOV, 53 LAING
Defense Pair 1: 26 MORRISONN, 55 SCHULTZ
Defense Pair 2: 52 GREEN, 23 JURCINA
Defense Pair 3: 3 POTI, 4 ERSKINE
Goalie: 37 KOLZIG
Back-up Goalie: 1 JOHNSON

Islanders
Forward Line 1: 26 FEDOTENKO, 89 COMRIE, 81 SATAN
Forward Line 2: 57 COMEAU, 18 SILLINGER, 13 GUERIN
Forward Line 3: 20 BERGENHEIM, 11 HILBERT, 7 HUNTER
Forward Line 4: 10 PARK, 63 VASICEK, 28 JACKMAN
Defense Pair 1: 24 MARTINEK, 32 WITT
Defense Pair 2: 47 BERGERON, 25 SUTTON
Defense Pair 3: 8 GERVAIS, 14 CAMPOLI
Goalie: 39 DIPIETRO
Back-up Goalie: 34 DUBIELEWICZ

Injuries:
Washington – 14 FEHR (hip) IR, 17 CLARK (groin) IR, 15 GORDON (hand fracture) IR, 2 POTHIER (thumb fracture) IR
Islanders – 17 BATES (hip) IR, 2 JOHNSON (knee) IR, 16 SIM (knee) IR

Caps Milestones:
Matt Pettinger needs 3 Points to reach 100 for his career
Brian Pothier needs 2 Points to reach 100 for his career
Michal Nylander needs 4 Goals to reach 200 for his career
Donald Brashear needs 5 Points to reach 200 for his career

Preview:
The Capitals travel to Long Island to take on the Islanders. After two tough games for the Caps, I think the pieces fall into place for a big victory for the Caps. They have been playing excellent hockey but haven’t been able to capitalize on their opportunities. Look for the Caps to press the Islander relentlessly and force turnovers. The Caps should make this a physical game since New York is coming off of a game last night. The Caps secondary scoring will make the difference in this one.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 6 NYI 2

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Game #35 Recap - Capitals 2 Canadians 5

The Capitals dominated the play in last night’s game but couldn’t take advantage of their opportunities. Conversely, the Canadians made the most of theirs as they scored 5 goals on 21 shots, including 2 power play goals. Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin scored for the Caps but it seemed as if every time the Caps came close to scoring the Canadians would put another on in the net. In the second period Montreal scored 2 goals on 5 shots. Not being able to score has been the Achilles heel for Caps this year. They have been getting the chances as the Caps had 37 shots on goal but they need to get secondary scoring to compliment Backstrom (23 pts), Alex Ovechkin (40 pts), and Michal Nylander (28 pts). On the positive side Alexander Semin is starting to play with more scoring confidence and if he can get rolling he can be a scoring threat every time he touches the puck.

Of Note:

  • The Caps broke their string of 6 games with at least 3 goals scored.
  • Semin has scored goals in each of the last two games and points in 3 straight.
  • Since Byod Gordon was injured the Caps have struggled in the face-off circle. Last night they were out drawn 23-30.
  • Backstrom recorded his 5th multipoint game of the season with a goal and an assist. He has 6 goals and 17 assists on the season.
  • The Caps gave up 2 power play goals and scored 1 of their own. On the season the Caps are 26 for 155 on the power play (16.8%) and have given up 30 power play goals in 162 opportunities for a penalty kill rate of 81.5%.
  • The Caps hit the road for a game with the New York Islanders on Saturday.

Official Recap
Game Summary
Super Stats




Thursday, December 20, 2007

Segway Tour, Capitals Style

This story from Dan Steinberg at D.C. Sports Bog is great. These characters are why I love this team so much.

Video Link

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Game #35 Washington Capitals Vs. Montreal Canadians

Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC

When: December 20, 2007, 7:00 PM

History:
Caps Record on this Date: 5-3-4-0
Caps Game 35 Record: 15-12-5-0
All-Time vs. MON: 46-63-17-1
Last Season vs. MON: 1-3-0
Last Meeting: 3/24/07, WAS 3 MON 4

This Year:
WAS Record: 13-18-3
Standings Points: 29
Division Rank: 5th
Conference Rank: 15th
Last Game: 12/17/2007, WAS 3 DET 4 (OT-SO)
Streak: Loss 1

MON Record: 16-12-5
Standings Points: 37
Division Rank: 3rd
Conference Rank: Tied 5th
Last Game: 12/18/2007, MON 2 FLA 3
Streak: Loss 1

Probable Line-Ups:
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 25 KOZLOV
Forward Line 2: 18 PETTINGER, 92 MICHAL NYLANDER, 28 SEMIN
Forward Line 3: 43 FLEISCHMANN, 39 STECKEL, 10 BRADLEY
Forward Line 4: 87 BRASHEAR, 21 LAICH, 53 LAING
Defense Pair 1: 26 MORRISONN, 55 SCHULTZ
Defense Pair 2: 2 POTHIER, 52 GREEN
Defense Pair 3: 3 POTI, 23 JURCINA
Goalie: 37 KOLZIG
Back-up Goalie: 1 JOHNSON

Montreal
Forward Line 1: 21 HIGGINS, 11 KOIVU, 27 KOVALEV
Forward Line 2: 46 A. KOSTITSYN, 14 PLEKANEC, 84 LATENDRESSE
Forward Line 3: 74 S. KOSTITSYN, 28 CHIPCHURA, 25 DANDENAULT
Forward Line 4: 22 BEGIN, 40 LAPIERRE, 6 KOSTOPOULOS
Defense Pair 1: 44 HAMRLIK, 8 KOMISAREK
Defense Pair 2: 79 MARKOV, 51 BOUILLON
Defense Pair 3: 3 O’BYRNE, 71 BRISEBOIS
Goalie: 31 PRICE
Back-up Goalie: 39 HUET

Injuries:
Washington – 14 FEHR (hip) IR, 17 CLARK (groin) IR, 15 GORDON (hand fracture) IR
Montreal – 84 LATENDRESSE (upper body) DTD, 20 SMOLINSKI (knee) IR

Caps Milestones:
Matt Pettinger needs 3 Points to reach 100 for his career
Brian Pothier needs 2 Points to reach 100 for his career
Michal Nylander needs 4 Goals to reach 200 for his career
Donald Brashear needs 5 Points to reach 200 for his career

Preview:
The Capitals will take on the Montreal Canadians Thursday at Verizon Center. They will try and build upon the good play in Monday’s shoot out loss at Detroit and get two points instead of one. The Caps were dominant at times against the Red Wings and will have to continue the aggressive forecheck and dictate the pace of the game. They did a good job getting Detroit out of their game plan but like the Red Wings they will have to respect a Canadians power play that is ranked 2nd in the NHL. Look for this one to be another fast paced game. The specials teams will most likely decide the game. Alexander Semin made be poised for a breakout performance.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 3 MON 2

Official Preview

Monday, December 17, 2007

Game #34 Recap - Capitals 3 Red Wings 4 (OT-SO)

The Caps played a tough spirited game against the Red Wings and came out on the short end of a shoot out. The game featured 4 power play goals. Two for Washington and two for Detroit. The Caps came back after giving up the lead goal to Detroit at the 15:17 mark of the third period. After Pavel Datsyuk took a delay of game penalty, Tom Poti found Alexander Semin for a power play goal to tie the game at 3-3 with 1:34 left in regulation time. The overtime had two almost moments as a shot went through Ollie Kolzig's pads and trickled wide of the net and at the other end Mike Green set up Alex Ovechkin 1-on-1 with Dominik Hasek but Alex's shot went straight into the glove of Hasek. The shoot out was not good for Kolzig as Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Juri Hudler all beat him with backhand shots. For the Caps, Victor Kozlov beat Hasek but his shot rang off the crossbar and out. Semin scored on his attempt beating Hasek and blasting the water bottle off the roof of the goal. A tough defeat to take but the Caps took away 1-point in the standing and the knowledge that they can play with anyone in the league.

Of Note:
  • Alex Ovechkin scored his 11th power play goal of the season. He leads the league in that catagory. He now has 24 goals and 15 assists for 39 points on the year.
  • David Steckel was outstanding in the face-off circle winning 13 of 16 draws.
  • Jeff Schultz scored another goal and now has 4 goals in his last 5 games.
  • Despite the result it was an overall good performance by the team. Hopefully, they can build on it. They play again on Thursday vs. Montreal.
Official Recap
Game Summary
Super Stats


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Game #34 Washington Capitals at Detroit Red Wings

Where: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, MI

When: December 17, 2007, 7:00 PM

History:
Caps Record on this Date: 10-6-2-0
Caps Game 34 Record: 11-16-4-1
All-Time vs. DET: 36-41-16-1
Last Season vs. DET: Did not play
Last Meeting: 12/9/05, WAS 3 DET 4

This Year:
WAS Record: 13-18-2
Standings Points: 28
Division Rank: Tied 5th
Conference Rank: 15th
Last Game: 12/15/2007, WAS 3 TAM 2
Streak: Won 1

DET Record: 23-6-3
Standings Points: 49
Division Rank: 1st
Conference Rank: 1st
Last Game: 12/15/2007, DET 5 FLA 2
Streak: Won 1

Probable Line-Ups:
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 25 KOZLOV
Forward Line 2: 18 PETTINGER, 92 MICHAL NYLANDER, 28 SEMIN
Forward Line 3: 43 FLEISCHMANN, 39 STECKEL, 10 BRADLEY
Forward Line 4: 87 BRASHEAR, 21 LAICH, 53 LAING
Defense Pair 1: 26 MORRISONN, 55 SCHULTZ
Defense Pair 2: 2 POTHIER, 52 GREEN
Defense Pair 3: 3 POTI, 23 JURCINA
Goalie: 37 KOLZIG
Back-up Goalie: 1 JOHNSON

Detroit
Forward Line 1: 40 ZETTERBERG, 13 DATSYUK, 26 HUDLER
Forward Line 2: 18 MALTBY, 51 FILPPULA, 96 HOLMSTROM
Forward Line 3: 93 FRANZEN, 44 HARTIGAN, 37 SAMUELSSON
Forward Line 4: 8 ELLIS, 82 KOPECKY, 11 CLEARY
Defense Pair 1: 5 LIDSTROM, 28 RAFALSKI
Defense Pair 2: 55 KRONWALL, 3 LILJA
Defense Pair 3: 22 LEBDA, 24 CHELIOS
Goalie: 30 OSGOOD
Back-up Goalie: 39 HASEK

Injuries:
Washington – 14 FEHR (hip) IR, 17 CLARK (groin) IR, 15 GORDON (hand fracture) IR
Detroit – 96 HOLSTROM (knee) DTD, 33 DRAPER (knee) IR

Caps Milestones:
Matt Pettinger needs 3 Points to reach 100 for his career
Brian Pothier needs 2 Points to reach 100 for his career
Michal Nylander needs 4 Goals to reach 200 for his career
Donald Brashear needs 5 Points to reach 200 for his career

Preview:
The Capitals are in snowy Detroit for a game against the best team in the NHL. This happened earlier this year when the Caps went into Ottawa and beat the Senators. However, don’t count on the Red Wings underestimating the Caps. The Caps have won 4 of their last 5 games and need to continue to do the things that have been working, especially winning the puck battles along the boards. Detroit is an extraordinary puck possession team and for the Caps to win they cannot get caught chasing the puck. Look for the Caps to keep up the aggressive forecheck and force the Red Wings to make quick decisions with the puck. The Caps are averaging 29.9 shot on goal per game and will need to keep pumping the rubber on the net to be in this one. It will be a challenge but a win would go a long way for the psyche of this team. I’ll go on a limb on this one and say the Caps win in a close game. Watch Ovechkin, he always seems to fly in these marquee games.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 3 DET 2

Official Recap




Game #33 Recap - Capitals 3 Lightning 2

Brian Pothier's 3rd period power play goal gave the Caps all they would need to put away the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was Pothier's 1st game-winner as a Capital. David Steckel scored his second goal of the year and after sitting out against Buffalo on Friday, Tomas Fleischmann had a 2-point night with a goal and an assist. Brent Johnson won his second consecutive start stopping 23 of 25 shots. The Caps now head to Detroit to take on the Red Wings who are currently the #1 team in point in the entire NHL.

Of Note:
  • Pothier also had an assist for a two point game. Caps Defensemen have now scored 17 goals this season.
  • The Caps stopped all 6 Tampa power plays improving their penalty killing to 83% good for 14th in the NHL.
  • Tom Poti had 4 blocked shots last night and leads the team with 53 on the year.
  • The Caps out shot Tampa 32-25 but were out drawn in the face-off dot 22-25.
  • The Team only gave away the puck 8 times after giving it away 25 times in each of their previous 2 games.
  • The Caps have scored at least 3 goals in 5 consecutive games.
Official Recap
Game Summary
Super Stats



Saturday, December 15, 2007

Game #33 Washington Capitals at Tampa Bay Lightning

Where: St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, FL

When: December 15, 2007, 7:30 PM

History:
Caps Record on this Date: 6-6-0-0
Caps Game 33 Record: 16-10-6-0
All-Time vs. TAM: 43-24-6-4
Last Season vs. TAM: 2-4-2
Last Meeting: 11/16/07, WAS 2 TAM 5

This Year:
WAS Record: 12-18-2
Standings Points: 26
Division Rank: Tied 5th
Conference Rank: 15th
Last Game: 12/14/2007, WAS 3 BUF 5
Streak: Loss 1

TAM Record: 14-15-3
Standings Points: 31
Division Rank: 2nd
Conference Rank: Tied 11th
Last Game: 12/13/2007, TAM 6 CAL 9
Streak: Loss 1

Game 1: 10/24/07, WAS 5 TAM 3
Game 2: 11/10/07, WAS 2 TAM 5
Game 3: 11/16/07, WAS 2 TAM 5

Probable Line-Ups:
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 25 KOZLOV
Forward Line 2: 18 PETTINGER, 92 MICHAL NYLANDER, 28 SEMIN
Forward Line 3: 50 MOTZKO, 39 STECKEL, 10 BRADLEY
Forward Line 4: 87 BRASHEAR, 21 LAICH, 53 LAING
Defense Pair 1: 26 MORRISONN, 55 SCHULTZ
Defense Pair 2: 2 POTHIER, 52 GREEN
Defense Pair 3: 3 POTI, 23 JURCINA
Goalie: 37 KOLZIG
Back-up Goalie: 1 JOHNSON

Tampa
Forward Line 1: 20 PROSPAL, 4 LECAVALIER, 26 ST. LOUIS
Forward Line 2: 21 DARCHE, 77 GRATTON, 7 OUELLET
Forward Line 3: 17 HLAVAC, 19 RICHARDS, 16 WARD
Forward Line 4: 24 KARLSSON, 74 TARNASKY, 36 ROY
Defense Pair 1: 54 RANGER, 71 KUBA
Defense Pair 2: 55 O’BRIEN, 37 LUKOWICH
Defense Pair 3: 39 LUNDIN, 3 JANIK
Goalie: 40 HOLMQVIST
Back-up Goalie: 30 DENIS

Injuries:
Washington – 14 FEHR (hip) IR, 17 CLARK (groin) IR, 15 GORDON (hand fracture) IR
Tampa – 7 OUELLET (shoulder) DTD, 34 CRAIG (knee) IR, 22 BOYLE (wrist) IR, 27 TAYLOR (hip) IR

Caps Milestones:
Matt Pettinger needs 4 Points to reach 100 for his career
Brian Pothier needs 4 Points to reach 100 for his career
Michal Nylander needs 4 Goals to reach 200 for his career
Donald Brashear needs 5 Points to reach 200 for his career

Preview:
Will the Caps fold after last night’s loss or will they come out with a vengeance? That is the question Head Coach Bruce Boudreau posed to the press last night after the game. I think the latter. The Caps did not play a very sound game against Buffalo last night and it bit them in the end. Look for them to put a pounding on the Lightning this evening. The Bolts are coming off an equally unimpressive 9-6 loss to Calgary on Thursday night. Alex Ovechkin has a 7-game point streak working and Victor Kozlov has assists in 4 straight. This should be a high scoring affair, for the Caps at least.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 6 TAM 1

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Capitlas 3 Sabers 5

The Capitals dream of 4 wins in a row was spoiled by the Sabers last night. There were chances as both goalies didn't have their "A" games. Both had given up 3 goals on 19 shots early in the third but the sabers really poured it on and got the 4th goal and then sealed it with an empty netter. The Caps need to forget this one fast as they are in Tampa for a game against the Lightning tonight.

Of Note:
  • Alex Ovechkin had 6 shots on goal giving him 1,000 for his career. He scored a power play goal in the first period extending his points streak to 7 games.
  • Nicklas Backstrom had 1 goal and 1 assist last night. He has 21 points on the season and 7 points in his last 5 games.
  • Victor Kozlov assisted on the Backstrom goal and has assists in 4 consecutive games.
  • The Caps were out shot for the first time in 8 games and were badly out shot 14-6 in the 3rd period.
Official Recap
Game Summary
Super Stats


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Game #32 Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabers

Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC

When: December 14, 2007, 7:00 PM

History:
Caps Record on this Date: 6-7-2-0
Caps Game 32 Record: 16-14-2-0
All-Time vs. BUF: 32-74-15-1
Last Season vs. BUF: 1-3-0
Last Meeting: 11/26/07, WAS 1 BUF 3

This Year:
WAS Record: 12-17-2
Standings Points: 26
Division Rank: Tied 5th
Conference Rank: 15th
Last Game: 12/12/2007, WAS 5 NYR 4 (OT)
Streak: Won 3

BUF Record: 14-14-1
Standings Points: 29
Division Rank: 5th
Conference Rank: Tied 12th
Last Game: 12/12/2007, BUF 5 NYI 3
Streak: Won 1

Game 1: 10/13/07, WAS 3 BUF 7
Game 2: 11/26/07, WAS 1 BUF 3

Probable Line-Ups:
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 50 MOTZKO
Forward Line 2: 43 FLEISCHMANN, 25 KOZLOV, 28 SEMIN
Forward Line 3: 18 PETTINGER, 39 STECKEL, 10 BRADLEY
Forward Line 4: 87 BRASHEAR, 21 LAICH, 53 LAING
Defense Pair 1: 26 MORRISONN, 55 SCHULTZ
Defense Pair 2: 2 POTHIER, 52 GREEN
Defense Pair 3: 3 POTI, 4 ERSKINE
Goalie: 37 KOLZIG
Back-up Goalie: 1 JOHNSON

Buffalo
Forward Line 1: 26 VANEK, 55 HECHT, 61 AFINOGENOV
Forward Line 2: 20 PAILLE, 9 ROY, 29 POMINVILLE
Forward Line 3: 76 PETERS, 19 CONNOLLY, 21 STAFFORD
Forward Line 4: 22 MAIR, 28 GAUSTAD, 12 KOTALIK
Defense Pair 1: 5 LYDMAN, 44 SEKERA
Defense Pair 2: 51 CAMPBELL, 10 TALLINDER
Defense Pair 3: 6 SPACEK, 4 PRATT
Goalie: 30 MILLER
Back-up Goalie: 35 THIBAULT

Injuries:
Washington – 14 FEHR (hip) IR, 17 CLARK (groin) IR, 15 GORDON (hand fracture) IR, 92 Michal Nylander (undisclosed) DTD
Buffalo – 45 KALININ (knee) IR, 27 NUMMINEN (heart surgery) IR

Caps Milestones:
Matt Pettinger needs 4 Points to reach 100 for his career
Brian Pothier needs 4 Points to reach 100 for his career
Michal Nylander needs 4 Goals to reach 200 for his career
Donald Brashear needs 5 Points to reach 200 for his career
Alex Ovechkin needs 6 Shots on Goal to reach 1,000 for his career

Preview:
The Capitals will go for a season high 4-game winning streak against the Buffalo Sabers. The Caps have come back from early deficits in their last two games to beat the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers. The Caps have been much more resilient under Head Coach Bruce Boudreau. The Sabers have had a tough first 30 games as compared to last season but have still managed to beat the Capitals twice this season. However, in the last 10 games the Caps are averaging 3.20 goals/game under Boudreau. In the first 21 games they were averaging 2.24 goals/game. Look for the Caps to use their aggressive forecheck to disrupt the Sabers offensive breakout. They were not successful in the previous two games but are believing in the Coach’s system and have out shot their opponents in their last 8 games.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 4 BUF 2

Official Preview



Capitals 5 Rangers 4 (OT)


The Capitals night went much like Donald Brashear's first period fight with Colton Orr of the Rangers. Donald took some early shots, started trading blows for a bit and ended it with a knockout blow. The Rangers took an early 2-0 lead in the first. Joe Motzko scored the next two goals for the Caps with some nice setups from the Donald. Ovechkin deflected a Mike Green shot to take the lead early into the third. The Rangers came back to tie not once but twice after a Jeff Schultz tally to send the game to overtime. The knockout came when Brendon Shanahan tripped over the wonderful Verizon Center ice surface allowing Brooks Laich to steal the puck and race to the other end with Mike Green on a 2-on-1. Laich made a nice pass to Green who knocked the water bottle off the net behind Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist with a snap wrister. The Caps are now winners of 4 of their last 5 and have a date against Buffalo on Friday.

Of Note:
  • Joe Motzko's two goals were his first as a Capital.
  • Jeff Shultz scored a goal in his third consecutive game. He has 4 goals on the season and 4 points in his last 5 games.
  • Alex Ovechkin extended his scoring streak to 6 games and has scored in 15 of the last 16 games. Talk about consistant!
  • Mike Green recorded a 3-point night with a goal and 2 assists. His overtime goal was his first ever NHL game winner.
  • Donald Brashear's fight gives him 203 penalty minutes as a Capital and 2,368 in his career. That's nearly 40 games in the penalty box!
  • The Caps out shot the Rangers 35-23, including and 18-7 margin in the first.
Official Recap
Game Summary
Super Stats

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Game #31 Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers

Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC

When: December 12, 2007, 7:00 PM

History:
Caps Record on this Date: 5-7-1-0
Caps Game 31 Record: 13-13-6-0
All-Time vs. NYR: 80-74-14-4
Last Season vs. NYR: 1-3-0
Last Meeting: 11/01/07, WAS 0 NYR 2

This Year:
WAS Record: 11-17-2
Standings Points: 24
Division Rank: 5th
Conference Rank: 15th
Last Game: 12/10/2007, WAS 3 NJ 2
Streak: Won 2

NYR Record: 16-12-2
Standings Points: 34
Division Rank: 2nd
Conference Rank: 5th
Last Game: 12/9/2007, NYR 1 NJ 0 (OT)
Streak: Won 1

Game 1: 10/12/07, WAS 1 NYR 3
Game 2: 11/1/06, WAS 0 NYR 2

Probable Line-Ups:
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN,
25 KOZLOV, 10 BRADLEY
Forward Line 2: 43 FLEISCHMANN,
BACKSTROM, 28 SEMIN
Forward Line 3: 18 PETTINGER, 39 STECKEL, 50 MOTZKO
Forward Line 4: 87 BRASHEAR,
21 LAICH19 , 53 LAING
Defense Pair 1:
3 POTI, 55 SCHULTZ
Defense Pair 2:
26 MORRISONN, 52 GREEN
Defense Pair 3:
2 POTHIER, 4 ERSKINE
Goalie: 37 KOLZIG
Back-up Goalie: 1 JOHNSON

Rangers
Forward Line 1: 14 SHANAHAN, 19 GOMEZ, 68 JAGR
Forward Line 2: 82 STRAKA, 17 DUBINSKY, 24 CALLAHAN
Forward Line 3: 16 AVERY, 23 DRURY, 28 ORR
Forward Line 4: 81 HOSSA, 15 BETTS, 25 PRUCHA
Defense Pair 1: 3 ROZSIVAL, 51 TYUTIN
Defense Pair 2: 18 STAAL, 5 GIRARDI
Defense Pair 3: 27 MARA, 8 MALIK
Goalie: 30 LUNDQVIST
Back-up Goalie: 40 VALIQUETTE

Injuries:
Washington – 14 FEHR (hip) IR, 17 CLARK (groin) IR, 15 GORDON (hand fracture) IR, 92 Michal Nylander (undisclosed) DTD
Rangers – None

Caps Milestones:
Matt Pettinger needs 4 Points to reach 100 for his career
Brian Pothier needs 4 Points to reach 100 for his career
Michal Nylander needs 4 Goals to reach 200 for his career
Alex Ovechkin needs 11 Shots on Goal to reach 1,000 for his career

Preview:
The Capitals will try and tie their season high 3-game winning streak against the New York Rangers. The Capitals defeated the Atlanta Thrashers and the New Jersey Devils and seem to be gaining in confidence. I don’t know if it was the tongue lashing they took from the Head Coach following the Jersey game last Friday, but the team looks completely different. The Rangers broke a 3-game losing streak with an overtime victory against New Jersey on Sunday. Look for the Capitals to start fast and try to get an early lead. Rangers’ goalie Henrick Lundqvist has only allowed 1 goal against in the teams’ previous two meetings. However, I get the feeling the Caps are starting to believe what Head Coach Boudreau is telling them. They are a better team and I think they take Jagr and the New York gang behind the woodshed in this one.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 6 Rangers 2.

Official Preview


Capitals 3 Devils 2

Sorry my large staff of one has been in transit the last couple of days, but that didn't stop the Capitals from putting back-to-back wins together with a 6-3 victory over Atlanta on Saturday and a 3-2 victory over New Jersey last night. Jeff Schultz score 53-seconds into the second period to give the Caps the lead and Quintin Laing scored his first NHL goal that would eventually be the game winner. Olie Kolzig stopped 20 of 22 shots and the team looked much better then they did in last Friday's meeting with the Devils in New Jersey.

Of Note:
  • Jeff Schultz has goals in back-to-back games. He has 3 goals in his career.
  • Alex Ovechkin extended his most current points streak to 5 games with an assist on the Schultz goal. He has 9 points in the 5 games. His assist gives him 234 career points tying him with Joe Juneau for 25th on the Capitals All-Time points list.
  • The Caps scored their first power play goal in 4 games and did not allow New Jersey to score with the man advantage. Both teams had 3 chances.
  • The Caps out shot the Devils 24-22 and have out shot their opponents in each of there last 7 games.
  • Since Bruce Boudreau took over behind the bench 9 games ago, the Caps are 5-3-1 with 27 goals for and 23 against.
Official Recap
Game Summary
Super Stats


Friday, December 7, 2007

Game #28 Washington Capitals at New Jersey Devils

Where: Prudential Center, Newark, NJ

When: December 7, 2007, 7:00 PM

History:
Caps Record on this Date: 7-12-1-0
Caps Game 28 Record: 14-16-2-0
All-Time vs. NJ: 68-54-8-5
Last Season vs. NJ: 1-3-0
Last Meeting: 2/25/07, WAS 2 NJ 3

This Year:
WAS Record: 9-16-2
Standings Points: 20
Division Rank: Tied 5th
Conference Rank: 15th
Last Game: 12/01/2007, WAS 2 FLA 2
Streak: Win 1

NJ Record: 15-10-2
Standings Points: 32
Division Rank: Tied 1st
Conference Rank: Tied 4th
Last Game: 12/05/2007, NJ 4 BOS 3
Streak: Win 8

Probable Line-Ups:
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 25 KOZLOV, 56 BOURQUE (?)
Forward Line 2: 43 FLEISCHMANN, 19 BACKSTROM, 28 SEMIN
Forward Line 3: 18 PETTINGER, 39 STECKEL, 10 BRADLEY
Forward Line 4: 87 BRASHEAR, 21 LAICH, 53 LAING
Defense Pair 1: 26 MORRISONN, 55 SCHULTZ
Defense Pair 2: 2 POTHIER, 52 GREEN
Defense Pair 3: 3 POTI, 23 JURCINA
Goalie: 37 KOLZIG
Back-up Goalie: 1 JOHNSON

New Jersey
Forward Line 1: 9 PARISE, 11 MADDEN, 14 GIONTA
Forward Line 2: 20 PANDOLFO, 16 ZUBRUS, 15 LANGENBRUNNER
Forward Line 3: 26 ELIAS, 19 ZAJAC, 23 CLARKSON
Forward Line 4: 10 PELLEY, 18 BRYLIN, 22 ASHAM
Defense Pair 1: 5 WHITE, 28 RACHUNEK
Defense Pair 2: 7 MARTIN, 6 GREENE
Defense Pair 3: 27 MOTTAU, 2 VISHNEVSKI
Goalie: 30 BRODEUR
Back-up Goalie: 1 WEEKES

Injuries:
Washington – 14 FEHR (hip) IR, 17 CLARK (groin) DTD, 15 GORDON (broken hand) Week-To-Week, 92 NYLANDER (undisclosed) DTD
New Jersey – 25 JANSSEN (dislocated shoulder) IR

Caps Milestones:
Brian Pothier will play his 100th game as a Capital
Alexander Semin needs 2 Points to reach 100 for his career
Matt Pettinger needs 5 Points to reach 100 for his career
Brian Pothier needs 4 Points to reach 100 for his career
Michal Nylander needs 4 Goals to reach 200 for his career

Preview:
The Capitals had a six day break after playing 8 games in 13 days. Interim Head Coach Bruce Boudreau has fully implemented his system and seems to be getting a buy in from the players. This game should be a big test for the team as the Devils have won their last 8 games. The Caps will also be without the services of Captain Chris Clark, Boyd Gordon and Michal Nylander. Somebody will have to be called up from Hershey to fill out the lineup. I’m thinking it will be Chris Bourque. Look for the Caps to aggressively forecheck and force NJ to turn the puck over. They will need to continue pounding pucks at the net as Devils Goalie Martin Brodeur is playing stellar right now. The Capitals have 30 or more shots in their last 9 games.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 3 NJ 2.

Official Preview

Editors Note: I will be without computer access until Monday so I will see you then and I predict Caps 6 ATL 1 on Saturday. Lets go Caps!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Nylander Out for Game in New Jersey


According to Capitals Insider, Michal Nylander will not play in tomorrow's game in New Jersey. He has an "undisclosed" injury.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Boyd Gordon Out with Fractured Hand


According to Capitals Insider, Capitals forward Boyd Gordon will be out for three weeks with a broken hand.



Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Capitals Weekend - Capitals 3 Carolina 4, Capitals 2 Florida 1


Sorry for the little hiatus in my reporting but I was out of town the past weekend. The Caps took to the road for games with Carolina and Florida on the 30th and 1st. They looked like a team that had played 16 games in 31 days. Hopefully they can get a little rest before they head to beautiful downtown Newark on Friday. After suffering a 4-3 defeat to Carolina they held on to beat Florida 2-1. Alex Ovechkin is may be on the verge of another point laden run. Throughout his career he has done this with quite regularity, he will go from a point per game average to a streak of 6 to 8 games with ungodly point totals. Last season he had two 8-game stretches with 18 and 16 points. The last two games Alex has 5 points.

Of Note:
  • The Capitals recorded their highest shots on goal total of the season against Florida. They sent 43 shots on the Florida net. They are now averaging 30.44 shots per game. Unfortunately their shooting percentage is a meager 7.7%
  • The Caps did not allow a goal in 9 penalty killing situations in the last two games. In the last 6 games they have held opponents to 2 goals on 26 attempts (92.3%).
  • Michal Nylander played his 100th game as a Capital against Carolina and he recorded his 200th shot on goal as a Capital vs. Florida.
  • Quintin Laing made his Capitals debut against Carolina. In the two games he was credited with 8 blocked shots.
  • With 3 goals in the two games Alex Ovechkin is now second in the league in goals with 20 and tied for 8th in points with 32. He is on pace for 61 goals and 97 points. Now we just need the rest of the team to chip in. With 118 career goals Alex ties Guy Charron for 17th place on the Caps All-Time Goals list.
Carolina Game:
Official Recap
Game Summary
Super Stats

Florida Game:
Official Recap
Game Summary
Super Stats


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