Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Game #68 Washington Capitals at Buffalo Sabres

Where: HSBC Arena, Buffalo, NY

When: March 5, 2008, 7:30 PM

History:
Caps Record on this Date: 8-4-2-0
Caps Game 68 Record: 13-17-1-0
All-Time vs. BUF: 32-75-15-1
Last Season vs. BUF: 1-3-0
Last Meeting: 12/14/07, WAS 3 BUF 5

This Year:
WAS Record: 31-28-8
Standings Points: 70
Division Rank: 2nd
Conference Rank: 11th
Last Game: 3/3/08, WAS 10 BOS 2
Streak: Won 1

BUF Record: 32-26-9
Standings Points: 73
Division Rank: 4th
Conference Rank: 9th
Last Game: 3/4/08, BUF 5 PHI 2
Streak: Won 1

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

Game 3: 12/14/07, WAS 3 BUF 5

Probable Line-Ups:
Washington

Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 25 KOZLOV
Forward Line 2: 28 SEMIN, 91 FEDOROV, 21 LAICH
Forward Line 3: 24 COOKE, 39 STECKEL, 10 BRADLEY
Forward Line 4: 87 BRASHEAR, 15 GORDON, 14 FEHR
Defense Pair 1: 26 MORRISONN, 52 GREEN
Defense Pair 2: 55 SCHULTZ, 4 POTI
Defense Pair 3: 23 JURCINA, 4 ERSKINE
Goalie: 37 KOLZIG, 33 HUET
Back-up Goalie: 1 JOHNSON

Buffalo
Forward Line 1: 26 VANEK, 9 ROY, 56 BERNIER
Forward Line 2: 20 PAILLE, 19 CONNOLLY, 29 POMINVILLE
Forward Line 3: 41 MACARTHUR, 55 HECHT, 12 KOTALIK
Forward Line 4: 76 PETERS, 28 GAUSTAD, 61 AFINOGENOV
Defense Pair 1: 5 LYDMAN, 44 SEKERA
Defense Pair 2: 6 SPACEK, 10 TALLINDER
Defense Pair 3: 45 KALININ, 4 PRATT
Goalie: 30 MILLER
Back-up Goalie: 35 THIBAULT

Injuries:
Washington – 17 CLARK (groin) DTD, 92 NYLANDER (shoulder) IR, 2 POTHIER (head) IR
Buffalo – 10 TALLINDER (shoulder) DTD, 27 NUMMINEN (heart surgery) IR

Caps Milestones:
Tom Poti needs 4 Shots on Goal to reach 1,100 for his career
Alex Ovechkin needs 8 Goals to reach 60 for this season

Preview:
The Capitals crushed the Bruins on Monday and now head to Buffalo for another huge game in the standings. With the Islanders winning last night the Caps are back into 11th place in the Eastern Conference and Buffalo is in 9th just 3 points ahead of the Caps. The Caps are also 3 points behind Carolina in the SE Division and Philadelphia currently sits in the 8th and final playoff spot with 74 points. The Caps need to come out with the same intensity they did against Boston. They need to develop this level as the norm, but as a young team they tend to be consistently inconsistent. One important aspect from Monday is they now know if they put on the effort they are capable of they can compete and beat anyone. Boston came into Monday’s game riding a high of a 6-game winning streak and the Caps opened with a physically brutal, fast paced style that put the Bruins on their heels and the Caps never let up. Buffalo is coming off of a big win last night over Philly and is looking to sweep the season series with the Caps. Look for the Caps to explode out of the gate and if they score early watch out. I see this one having a feverish pace and will be very physical. Caps are confident right now and I’m giving them the edge.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 5 BUF 3

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