Friday, March 14, 2008

Game #71 Washington Capitals vs. Atlanta Thrashers

Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC

When: March 14, 2008, 7:00 PM

History:
Caps Record on this Date: 3-7-3-0
Caps Game 73 Record: 12-13-5-1
All-Time vs. ATL: 22-16-5-5
Last Season vs. ATL: 3-3-2
Last Meeting: 2/13/08, WAS 2 ATL 3 (OT-SO)

This Year:
WAS Record: 33-30-8
Standings Points: 74
Division Rank: 2nd
Conference Rank: 10th
Last Game: 3/12/08, WAS 3 CAL 2
Streak: Won 1

ATL Record: 31-33-11
Standings Points: 70
Division Rank: 4th
Conference Rank: 14th
Last Game: 3/13/08, ATL 6 CAL 4
Streak: Won 1

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
Game 5: 2/2/08, WAS 0 ATL 2
Game 6: 2/13/08, WAS 2 ATL 3 (OT-SO)

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

Atlanta
Forward Line 1: 17 KOVALCHUK, 11 PERRIN, 9 ARMSTRONG
Forward Line 2: 13 KOZLOV, 16 HOLIK, 8 RECCHI
Forward Line 3: 36 BOULTON, 11 PERRIN, 27 THORBURN
Forward Line 4: 29 LARSEN, 23 SLATER, 12 WHITE
Defense Pair 1: 39 ENSTROM, 77 ZHITNIK,
Defense Pair 2: 22 KLEE, 28 HAVELID
Defense Pair 3: 2 EXELBY, 3 KWIATKOWSKI
Goalie: 32 LEHTONEN
Back-up Goalie: 1 HEDBERG

Injuries:
Washington – 17 CLARK (groin) DTD, 92 NYLANDER (shoulder) IR, 2 POTHIER (head) IR, 39 STECKEL (broken finger)
Atlanta – 20 RUCCHIN (concussion) IR, 12 WHITE (shoulder) DTD

Caps Milestones:
Jeff Schultz will play in his 100th career NHL game
Tom Poti needs 1 Shots on Goal to reach 1,100 for his career
Alex Ovechkin needs 4 Goals to reach 60 for this season
Alex Ovechkin needs 3 points to reach 100 for this season
Alex Ovechkin needs 5 Points to reach 300 for his career

Preview:
The Capitals take on the Atlanta Thrashers in another must win game at the Phone Booth. They were able to keep pace with the other playoff contenders with a victory over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday. This year the Caps have a 2-2-2 record against the Thrashers with 2 games remaining in the season series. The Caps need to win both of those games in hopes of making the playoffs. Currently, Atlanta is 14th in the conference and played Calgary last night so the Caps should be the fresher team. Look for them to again put the pressure on early and score first. They need to be physical and get some secondary scoring. It seems that when Alex Ovechkin is held in check the Caps flounder on offense. However, the Caps power play has really come on lately as Brooks Laich has taken to the Tomas Holmstrom role and made himself a real presents in front of opposing goaltenders. Laich has 6 power play goals in the last 11 games. The penalty kill has been hurt with the injury to David Steckel but the Caps have been playing even strength defense very well. In their last 10 games they have given up 23 goals and 10 of those were when the opponent was on the power play. If they can stay out of the box, I think there will be too much Ovechkin in this one as he has amassed 17 goals and 34 points in 22 lifetime matchups with the Thrashers.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 4 ATL 2

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