Saturday, February 2, 2008

Game #53 Washington Capitals vs. Atlanta Thrashers

Where: Verizon Centre, Washington, DC

When: February 2, 2008, 7:00 PM

History:
Caps Record on this Date: 3-8-1-0
Caps Game 53 Record: 11-15-5-0
All-Time vs. ATL: 22-15-5-4
Last Season vs. ATL: 3-3-2
Last Meeting: 1/15/08, WAS 6 ATL 3

This Year:
WAS Record: 24-23-5
Standings Points: 53
Division Rank: 3rd
Conference Rank: 12th
Last Game: 1/31/08, WAS 5 MON 4 (OT)
Streak: Win 1

ATL Record: 25-25-5
Standings Points: 54
Division Rank: 2nd
Conference Rank: 10th
Last Game: 2/1/08, ATL 5 BUF 4
Streak: Won 2

Game 1: 10/5/07, WAS 3 ATL 1
Game 2: 11/6/07, WAS 1 ATL 2 (OT)
Game 3: 11/21/07, WAS 1 ATL 5
Game 4: 1/15/08, WAS 6 ATL 3

Probable Line-Ups:
Washington

Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 25 KOZLOV
Forward Line 2: 28 SEMIN, 15 GORDON, 43 FLEISCHMANN
Forward Line 3: 53 LAING, 39 STECKEL, 10 BRADLEY
Forward Line 4: 87 BRASHEAR, 21 LAICH, 18 PETTINGER
Defense Pair 1: 26 MORRISONN, 52 GREEN
Defense Pair 2: 23 JURCINA, 55 SCHULTZ
Defense Pair 3: 4 ERSKINE, 3 POTI
Goalie: 37 KOLZIG
Back-up Goalie: 1 JOHNSON

Atlanta
Forward Line 1: 13 KOZLOV, 16 HOLIK, 8 RECCHI
Forward Line 2: 17 KOVALCHUK, 11 PERRIN, 18 HOSSA
Forward Line 3: 9 DUPUIS, 12 WHITE, 27 THORBURN
Forward Line 4: 36 BOULTON, 23 SLATER, 21 STERLING
Defense Pair 1: 77 ZHITNIK, 22 KLEE
Defense Pair 2: 39 ENSTROM, 28 HAVELID
Defense Pair 3: 2 EXELBY, 7 POPOVICH
Goalie: 32 LEHTONEN
Back-up Goalie: 1 HEDBERG

Injuries:
Washington – 14 FEHR (hip) IR, 92 NYLANDER (shoulder) IR, 17 CLARK (groin) DTD, 2 POTHIER (head) IR
Atlanta – 20 RUCCHIN (concussion) IR, 17 KOVALCHUK (knee) DTD

Caps Milestones:
Viktor Kozlov needs 2 assists to reach 300 for his career
Matt Pettinger needs 2 Points to reach 100 for his career
Donald Brashear needs 2 Points to reach 200 for his career
Donald Brashear needs 5 PIM’s to reach 2,400 for his career
Chris Clark needs 1 SOG to reach 800 for his career
Matt Pettinger needs 1 SOG to reach 500 for his career

Preview:
Alex Ovechkin took over the last game against Montreal scoring 4 goals and adding an assist. His 4th goal was the overtime winner. Now he gets to play the team he has had the most offensive success against in his career. In 20 games against Atlanta he has 16 goals and 16 assists. The Caps will need his scoring as the Thrashers moved into second place in the Southeast Division with a win in Buffalo last night. This is another must win game for the Caps (aren’t they all at this point). Look for the Caps to bring the physical play and pressure the Atlanta defense. They need to get scoring from more than the first line. For the Caps to start a true playoff run they need to string together some wins and especially against southeast Division foes. I see the Caps running away with this one.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 6 ATL 2

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