Thursday, March 20, 2008

Game #76 Washington Capitals vs. Atlanta Thrashers

Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta GA

When: March 21, 2008, 7:30 PM

History:
Caps Record on this Date: 6-7-3-0
Caps Game 76 Record: 13-10-8-0
All-Time vs. ATL: 23-16-5-5
All-Time At ATL: 9-9-2-4
Last Season vs. ATL: 3-3-2
Last Meeting: 3/14/08, WAS 4 ATL 1

This Year:
WAS Record: 36-31-8
Standings Points: 80
Division Rank: 2nd
Conference Rank: 10th
Last Game: 3/19/08, WAS 0 CHI 5
Streak: Loss 1

ATL Record: 31-37-8
Standings Points: 70
Division Rank: 4th
Conference Rank: 14th
Last Game: 3/19/08, ATL 3 CAR 5
Streak: Loss 4
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)
Game 7: 3/14/08, WAS 4 ATL 1

Probable Line-Ups:
Washington

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

Atlanta
Forward Line 1: 17 KOVALCHUK, 16 HOLIK, 9 ARMSTRONG
Forward Line 2: 13 KOZLOV, 10 LITTLE, 8 RECCHI
Forward Line 3: 36 BOULTON, 11 PERRIN, 27 THORBURN
Forward Line 4: 29 LARSEN, 9 CHRISTENSEN, 23 SLATER
Defense Pair 1: 39 ENSTROM, 77 ZHITNIK
Defense Pair 2: 7 POPOVIC, 48 VALABIK
Defense Pair 3: 2 EXELBY, 22 KLEE
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), 4 ERSKINE (undisclosed) DTD
Atlanta – 20 RUCCHIN (concussion) IR

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

Preview:
Washington looks to rebound after a disappointing effort in Chicago. They head to Atlanta to take on a struggling Thrashers team. The Caps need to win this game to stay in the playoff race. The Caps have a 3-2-2 record vs. Atlanta this year and this will be the final meeting between the two teams this season. They decisively beat the Thrashers at home 4-1 in their last meeting. Look for the Caps to play with much higher energy this game as they try to get a good start. The Thrashers have been folding like lawn chairs when they get down but still have the second leading goal scorer in Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovalchuck is the only other 50-goal scorer in the NHL this season. Atlanta will try a shut down Alex Ovechkin who has burned the Thrashers throughout his 3 seasons in the league. Ovechkin has 18 goals and 18 assists in 23 career games against Atlanta. The Caps need a good effort and I think Atlanta will see a very determined group in this game.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 5 ATL 1




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