Sunday, November 23, 2008

Game #21 Washington Capitals at Minnesota Wild

Where: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN

When: November 24, 2008, 8:00 PM

History:
Caps Record on this Date: 4-9-2-0
Caps Game 21 Record: 16-10-7-0
All-Time vs. MIN: 8-14-1-1
All-Time at MIN: 3-7-1-0
Last Season vs. MIN: 1-0-0
Last Meeting: 2/26/08, WAS 4 MIN 1

This Year:
WAS Record: 11-6-3
Standings Points: 25
Division Rank: 2nd
Conference Rank: 6th
Last Game: 11/22/08, WAS 2 SAN 7
Streak: Loss 2

MIN Record: 11-6-1
Standings Points: 23
Division Rank: 1st
Conference Rank: 1st
Last Game: 11/22/08, MIN 1 STL 2
Streak: Loss 2

Probable Line-Ups:
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 25 KOZLOV
Forward Line 2: 14 FLEISCHMANN, 92 NYLANDER, 17 CLARK
Forward Line 3: 21 LAICH, 39 STECKEL, 16 FEHR
Forward Line 4: 87 BRASHEAR, 15 GORDON, 10 BRADLEY
Defense Pair 1: 55 SCHULTZ, 26 MORRISONN
Defense Pair 2: 89 SLOAN, 3 POTI
Defense Pair 3: 23 JURCINA, 4 ERSKINE
Goalie: 60 THEODORE
Back-up Goalie: 1 JOHNSON

Minnesota
Forward Line 1: 15 BRUNETTE, 9 KOIVU, 11 NOLAN
Forward Line 2: 8 BURNS, 25 BELANGER, 20 MIETTINEN
Forward Line 3: 11 VEILLEUX, 51 SHEPPARD, 96 BOUCHARD
Forward Line 4: 24 BOOGAARD, 67 POULIOT, 22 CLUTTERBUCK
Defense Pair 1: 5 JOHNSSON, 55 SCHULTZ
Defense Pair 2: 3 ZIDLICKY, 41 SKOULA
Defense Pair 3: 2 REITZ, 47 BERGERON
Goalie: 32 BACKSTROM
Back-up Goalie: 29 HARDING

Injuries:
Washington – 2 POTHIER (concussion) IR, 91 FEDOROV (ankle) DTD, 28 SEMIN (upper body) DTD, 52 GREEN (shoulder) DTD
Minnesota – 10 GABORIK (back) IR, 26 FOSTER (leg) IR

Caps Milestones:
Matt Bradley needs 2 points to reach 100 in his career.
Chris Clark needs 4 penalty minutes to reach 600 in his career.
Brooks Laich needs 2 shots on goal to reach 400 in his career.

Preview:
After two disastrous outings in LA and San Jose the Caps can get a split on their current West Coast road trip with a win in Minnesota. Unfortunately, they will not have the services of Alexander Semin, Mike Green or Sergei Fedorov to help them do it. Each is injured and not ready to return to the lineup. Minnesota is a team that does not score a lot of goals but they play a stifling defensive system and have an elite goalie in Niklas Backstrom (no relation to the Cap’s center). In his last 7 games, Backstrom is sporting a 1.55 GAA and 0.943 save percentage but has seen his team only go 4-3-0 in those games. Watch the start of this game as the Caps were blown out in the first period of last two games. It is critical for the Caps to get a good start or they will face a huge uphill battle in this one. Look for the Caps to simplify their game and the forwards need to support the defense as much as possible. The Caps have given up 22 goals in their last four games after giving up 9 in the previous 6. I think the team will pull together and play like we know they can. It will be a hard fought game but hopefully a building block.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 2 MIN 1

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