Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Game #75 Washington Capitals at Chicago Blackhawks

Where: United Center, Chicago, IL

When: March 19, 2008, 8:30 PM

Caps Record on this Date: 4-5-1-0
Caps Game 75 Record: 14-14-2-1
All-Time vs. CHI: 33-37-11-1
Last Season vs. CHI: Did Not Play
Last Meeting: 1/10/06, WAS 3 CHI 4 (OT)

This Year:
WAS Record: 36-30-8
Standings Points: 80
Division Rank: 2nd
Conference Rank: 9th
Last Game: 3/18/08, WAS 4 NAS 2
Streak: Won 4

CHI Record: 34-32-7
Standings Points: 75
Division Rank: 4th
Conference Rank: 13th
Last Game: 3/16/08, CHI 2 CAL 4
Streak: Loss 1

Probable Line-Ups:

Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 25 KOZLOV
Forward Line 2: 28 SEMIN, 91 FEDOROV, 14 FEHR
Forward Line 3: 24 COOKE, 15 GORDON, 10 BRADLEY
Forward Line 4: 87 BRASHEAR, 21 LAICH, 43 FLEISCHMANN
Defense Pair 1: 26 MORRISONN, 52 GREEN
Defense Pair 2: 55 SCHULTZ, 4 POTI
Defense Pair 3: 23 JURCINA, 42 LEPISTO
Goalie: 37 KOLZIG, 33 HUET
Back-up Goalie: 1 JOHNSON

Forward Line 1: 10 SHARP, 20 LANG, 88 KANE
Forward Line 2: 16 LADD, 19 TOEWS, 29 WILLIAMS
Forward Line 3: 12 BOURQUE, 36 BOLLAND, 28 C. ADAMS
Forward Line 4: 55 EAGER, 17 K. ADAMS, 37 BURISH
Defense Pair 1: 2 KEITH, 7 SEABROOK
Defense Pair 2: 27 ZYUZIN, 42 HENDRY
Defense Pair 3: 5 SOPEL, 25 BARKER
Goalie: 40 LALIME
Back-up Goalie: 39 KHABIBULIN

Washington – 17 CLARK (groin) DTD, 92 NYLANDER (shoulder) IR, 2 POTHIER (head) IR, 39 STECKEL (broken finger), 4 ERSKINE (undisclosed) DTD
Chicago – 94 PERREAULT (fractured wrist) IR

Caps Milestones:
Alex Ovechkin needs 2 Goals to reach 60 for this season
Alexander Semin needs 6 Shots on Goal to reach 500 for his career

The Capitals visit Chicago for the first time since February of 2004. The team is coming in with a season high 4-game winning streak. With a win tonight the Caps would tie Philadelphia in standings points at 80 with Philly having a game in hand. Carolina is still 3 points in front of the Caps and takes on Atlanta tonight. Buffalo is 1 point behind the Caps and Tampa visits them tonight. The Caps will watch the scores but need to focus on the game at hand. It shouldn’t be too hard as this game features the leading contenders for rookie of the year. Chicago’s Patrick Kane has 17 goals and 45 assists for 62 points this season while Capitals’ rookie Nicklas Backstrom has 12 goals and 49 assists for 61 points. If it weren’t for an injury, Jonathan Toews would be right there with Kane and Backstrom. Despite only playing in 55 games Toews has 20 goals and 27 assists for 47 points. The Caps will need to jump on the Blackhawks early, Chicago has losses in 5 of its last 6 games, and not let them think they have a chance. Look for another big 1st period from the Caps who have scored 15 first period goals in their last 9 games, including 3 against Nashville last night. The Washington power play is ranked 6th in the league and has scored in 6 consecutive games. However, they need to stay out of the box as they have allowed the opponent to score 6 power play goals in the last 6 games. The Caps are currently ranked 25th in penalty killing. The game should be fast paced with both teams playing to score. The Caps need this one badly and have a little more than Chicago can handle.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 5 CHI 2

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