Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Game #39 Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals

Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC

When: January 1, 2009 7:00 PM

History:
Caps Record on this Date: 13-6-3-1
Caps Game 39 Record: 14-13-5-1
All-Time vs. TAM: 49-24-6-4
All-Time home vs. TAM: 26-10-4-2
Last Season vs. TAM: 6-2-0
Last Meeting: 11/10/08, WAS 4 TAM 2

This Year:
WAS Record: 24-11-3
Standings Points: 51
Division Rank: 1st
Conference Rank: 2nd
Last Game: 12/30/08, WAS 4 BUF 2
Streak: Win 4

TAM Record: 10-16-10
Standings Points: 30
Division Rank: 4th
Conference Rank: 13th
Last Game: 12/30/08, TAM 1 MON 2 (OT-SO)
Streak: Loss 1

Probable Line-Ups:
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 25 KOZLOV
Forward Line 2: 33 GIROUX, 92 NYLANDER, 17 CLARK
Forward Line 3: 39 STECKEL, 21 LAICH, 16 FEHR
Forward Line 4: 87 BRASHEAR, 15 GORDON, 10 BRADLEY
Defense Pair 1: 55 SCHULTZ, 52 GREEN
Defense Pair 2: 23 JURCINA, 27 ALZNER
Defense Pair 3: 62 COLLINS, 26 MORRISONN
Goalie: 60 THEODORE
Back-up Goalie: 1 JOHNSON

Tampa
Forward Line 1: 12 MALONE, 4 LECAVALIER, 26 ST. LOUIS
Forward Line 2: 24 PETTINGER, 38 SZCZECHURA, 8 RECCHI
Forward Line 3: 20 PROSPAL, 11 HALPERN, 76 ARTYUKHIN
Forward Line 4: 36 JOKINEN, 91 STAMKOS, 18 HALL
Defense Pair 1: 14 MESZAROS, 54 RANGER
Defense Pair 2: 44 EMINGER, 22 MALIK
Defense Pair 3: 2 KRAJICEK, SMABY
Goalie: 41 SMITH
Back-up Goalie: 37 KOLZIG

Injuries:
Washington – 2 POTHIER (concussion) IR, 91 FEDOROV (ankle) DTD, 4 ERSKINE (concussion) DTD, 28 SEMIN (back) DTD, 3 POTI (groin) DTD, 14 FLEISCHMANN (illness) DTD

Tampa – 33 KOCI (broken hand) IR, 10 ROBERTS (lower body) IR

Caps Milestones:
Mike Green will play in his 200th career NHL game.
Brooks Laich needs 1 points to reach 100 in his career.
Mike Green needs 6 points to reach 100 in his career.
Tom Poti needs 9 points to reach 300 in his career.
Viktor Kozlov needs 6 goals to reach 200 in his career.
Alex Ovechkin needs 12 goals to reach 200 in his career.

Preview:
The Capitals have won 4 in a row and 9 of their last 10 games but needs to be weary of a Tampa team that visits the Phone Booth for New Year’s. Tampa is on a roll of their own winning 3 of their last 4. Tampa is looking like Washington South with former Capitals Jeff Halpern, Matt Pettinger, Steve Eminger, Jamie Heward and Olie Kolzig in the lineup. The Caps must maintain focus and give the Bolts the same Washington welcome we’ve grown accustom to seeing this season. The Caps are 15-1-1 at home this season. Look for a physical game as the Blots try to mirror the toughness of Head Coach Rick Tocchet. Watch Matt Bradley and David Steckel who both have career highs in points against Tampa. If the Caps play true to form, I think they win going away.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 5 TAM 1

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Game #38 Recap - Capitals 4 Sabres 2

For the second time in five days the Caps beat the Sabres. For the Caps it was good to get a win on the road in a building that has always given the team trouble. The Caps took a 2-0 lead in the first period and would not allow the Sabres to get on track the rest of the game. The Caps got another goal in the second for a 3-0 lead before Buffalo scored midway through the third. The teams traded last minute goals to closeout the scoring with a 4-2 final. The Caps are winners in 9 of their last 10 games and hold the fourth best record in the NHL.

Of Note:
  • Nicklas Backstrom scored the game-winning goal and assisted on Laich's goal. The young Swede has 42 points on the season, 8 points in the last 4 games, and is 5th in the NHL with 31 assists. Remarkably, he only has 8,440 All-Star votes.
  • Chris Bourque (47 votes) scored the first goal of his NHL career. Bourque was recalled to replace Donald Brashear (534 votes)who is out with a leg injury.
  • Brooks Laich (1,381 votes) opened the scoring with a power play goal. For Laich, it was his 6th goal in the last 9 games.
  • Stopping 31 of 33 shots, Jose Theodore (1,332 votes) picked up his 11th win on the season.
  • Boyd Gordon (46 votes) picked up the 4th shorthanded goal of his career when he cleared the puck out of the Caps end of the ice straight into the Sabres empty net.
  • Viktor Kozlov (122 votes) had another impressive game. The big Russian picked up 2 assists and has 8 points in his last 9 games.
  • With an elbowing call in the second period Chris Clark (140 votes) hit a career milestone of 600 penalty minutes. He's only 1,900 behind the Donald.
Official Recap
Game Summary
Event Summary


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Game #38 Washington Capitals at Buffalo Sabres

Where: HSBC Center, Buffalo, NY

When: December 30, 2008, 7:00 PM

History:
Caps Record on this Date: 6-6-5-0
Caps Game 38 Record: 14-15-3-1
All-Time vs. BUF: 34-76-15-1
All-Time at BUF: 17-40-6-0
Last Season vs. BUF: 1-3-0
Last Meeting: 12/26/08, WAS 3 BUF 2

This Year:
WAS Record: 23-11-3
Standings Points: 49
Division Rank: 1st
Conference Rank: 2nd
Last Game: 12/28/08, WAS 4 TOR 1
Streak: Win 3

BUF Record: 17-14-5
Standings Points: 39
Division Rank: 3rd
Conference Rank: 8th
Last Game: 12/27/08, BUF 4 NYI 3
Streak: Win 1

Game 1: 11/01/08, WAS 0 BUF 5
Game 2: 12/26/08, WAS 3 BUF 2

Probable Line-Ups:
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 25 KOZLOV
Forward Line 2: 33 GIROUX, 92 NYLANDER, 17 CLARK
Forward Line 3: 39 STECKEL, 21 LAICH, 16 FEHR
Forward Line 4: 87 BRASHEAR, 15 GORDON, 10 BRADLEY
Defense Pair 1: 55 SCHULTZ, 52 GREEN
Defense Pair 2: 23 JURCINA, 27 ALZNER
Defense Pair 3: 62 COLLINS, 26 MORRISONN
Goalie: 60 THEODORE
Back-up Goalie: 1 JOHNSON

Buffalo
Forward Line 1: 26 VANEK, 9 ROY, 21 STAFFORD
Forward Line 2: 41 MACARTHUR, 55 HECHT, 29 POMINVILLE
Forward Line 3: 20 PAILLE, 22 MAIR, 12 KOTALIK
Forward Line 4: 76 PETERS, 37 ELLIS, 61 AFINOGENOV
Defense Pair 1: 6 SEKARA, 44 SPACEK
Defense Pair 2: 5 LYDMAN, 10 TALLINDER
Defense Pair 3: 27 NUMMINEN, 34 BUTLER
Goalie: 30 MILLER
Back-up Goalie: 40 LALIME

Injuries:
Washington – 2 POTHIER (concussion) IR, 91 FEDOROV (ankle) DTD, 4 ERSKINE (concussion) DTD, 28 SEMIN (back) DTD, 3 POTI (groin) DTD, 14 FLEISCHMANN (illness) DTD

Buffalo – 52 RIVET (shoulder) IR, 42 GERBE (upper body) IR, 15 CONNOLLY (ribs) IR, 28 GAUSTAD (mouth) DTD

Caps Milestones:
Brooks Laich needs 2 points to reach 100 in his career.
Mike Green needs 7 points to reach 100 in his career.
Tom Poti needs 9 points to reach 300 in his career.
Chris Clark needs 2 penalty minutes to reach 600 in his career.
Viktor Kozlov needs 6 goals to reach 200 in his career.
Alex Ovechkin needs 12 goals to reach 200 in his career.

Preview:
The team heads to Buffalo to face the Sabres with a very different look from when the two teams met 2 games ago. With Mike Green and Jeff Schultz back in the lineup the back line goes from 4 Hershey call ups to only 2. Of course, you must acknowledge how well the players called up have performed since the Caps starters started dropping like flies. After the Minnesota game on Nov. 24 to now, the Caps made 20 recalls (that I can count) from Hershey and went 12-4-0 over that span, pretty impressive. Granted the Caps have not been fielding the team they would like but learning curve has been relatively short and they have been getting the job done. Tonight’s match is one that gives me a bit of concern. The Caps are playing decent hockey and just beat the same Buffalo team on Friday. However, the Caps have suffered big time playing at Buffalo in their history, winning only 17 of 63 meetings, the latest a 5-0 loss back on Nov. 1. Look for the Caps to play an aggressive game and put the body to the smaller, speedier buffalo forwards. They need to wear these guys down throughout the game. The Caps need to get some offense early and keep sustained pressure on the Sabres. Watch the Caps top line tonight, Alex Ovechkin didn’t get the NHL’s 1st Star of the Week for nothing.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 5 BUF 3

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Alex Ovechkin Named 1st Star of the Week

Per TSN,

"NEW YORK - Left-winger Alex Ovechkin, who registered six points in three games for the Washington Capitals, was named the NHL's first star of the week Monday.

Atlanta Thrashers centre Bryan Little and Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick captured the second and third star honours respectively.

Ovechkin recorded five goals and an assist as the Capitals (23-11-3) won all three games to extend their Southeast Division lead to 10 points.

He had two goals and an assist as Washington rallied from a 4-0 deficit to defeat the New York Rangers 5-4 in overtime on Dec. 23. Ovechkin added the winning goal in a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday, then scored twice in a 4-1 decision Sunday against Toronto.

Ovechkin has 44 points (23 goals, 21 assists) in his last 28 games and is second in NHL scoring with 49 points (25 goals, 24 assists) in 35 games.

Little had an NHL-high six goals last week, including two in a 4-2 win over the New York Islanders on Dec. 23. He recorded his first NHL hat trick in a 5-4 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday before recording Atlanta's lone goal in a 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Sunday night.

Little, Atlanta's first pick (12th overall) in the 2006 Entry Draft, had a team-high 18 goals and is fourth in club scoring with 30 points.

Quick posted a 2-1-0 record, 0.67 goals-against average and .958 save percentage with two shutouts in three games for the Kings.

He stopped 24 shots for his first NHL shutout in a 3-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Dec. 23, then made 24 saves in a 2-1 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday. Quick then turned aside 26 shots in a 4-0 victory over the Coyotes the following night."

Game #37 Recap - Capitals 4 Maple Leafs 1

On a night when Mike Gartner's #11 jersey was raised to the rafters, the Capitals took care of business by defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1. During the pre-game skate the team all wore #11 retro jerseys to honor the Hall-of-Fame winger. The Caps extended their home winning streak to 5 games and have compiled an Eastern Conference best 15-1-1 record at home. Brooks Laich and Alex Ovechkin took care of the scoring. Each picked up 2 goals while Jose Theodore stopped 23 of 24 shots win his 11th game on the season. Mike Green and Jeff Schultz both returned to the Capitals lineup after missing 2 and 15 games respectively. On a night when the Caps paid tribute to a truly class individual, it was good to see the team respond with a workmanlike effort that would make him proud.

Of Note:
  • Ovechkin now has 188 career goals, tying him with Bobby Carpenter for 6th place on the Caps All-Time Goals Scored list. He also got the game-winner moving him 1 ahead of Michal Pivonka for 6th most in Caps history. Ovechkin has 5 goals in his last 3 games.
  • Brooks Laich had his 1st multi-goal game of the season and he is 1 of 4 Caps to appear in all 37 games this season.
  • The Caps were 1 for 1 on the power play and held the Maple Leafs without a goal in 2 attempts.
  • David Steckel was money in the face-off dot winning 11 of 14 draws. The Caps won 30 and lost 25 draws overall.
  • Nicklas Backstrom picked up 2 assists in the game and has 6 assists in his last 3 games.
  • The Caps have won 3 in a row and 8 of their last 9.
Official Recap
Game Summary
Event Summary


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Game #36 Recap - Capitals 3 Sabres 2

What can you say about Alex Ovechkin? The guy is absolutely unbelievable. If you haven't seen his goal from last night then check it out here. It was just another reminder of how good this guy can be. And that goal proved to be the game-winner for the Caps. The Caps won 3-2 over the Sabres and have won 9 of their last 11 games. The Caps also got their Captain, Chris Clark, back from injury. He played on the forth line and delivered 4 hits. It is inconceivable how this team has responded to the injury situation. Even with 7 regulars out of the lineup the Caps have moved into 2nd place in the Eastern Conference and hold a 14-1-1 record at home. It is a true testament to the depth of the organization and the ability of their head coach to make all the pieces fit.

Of Note:
  • At 14-1-1 the Caps hold the 2nd best home record in the league only San Jose, at 18-0-2, is better.
  • Viktor Kozlov scored his 4th goal in 4 games on a blazing slap shot from the right wing, Mike Gartner would be proud.
  • With 2 assists on the night, Bryan Helmer was named the 1st Star of the Game.
  • Boyd Gordon deflected a point drive from Milan Jurcina for his 3 goal of the season.
  • The Caps gave up 1 goal on the power play and had one of their own disallowed because of goalie interference.
  • Alex Ovechkin is a shooting machine. He recorded 8 shots on goal, had 8 attempts blocked and missed the net on 3 others. Add in his disallowed goal shot and that's 20 attempts in this game. In the last 3 games he has taken 33 shots on goal and moved ahead of Michal Pivonka for 6th most shots on goal in Caps history with 1,479.
  • Jose Theodore stopped 22 of 24 shots for his 10th win of the season.
Official Recap
Game Summary
Event Summary



Thursday, December 25, 2008

Game #36 Buffalo Sabres at Washington Capitals

Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC

When: December 26, 2008, 7:00 PM

History:
Caps Record on this Date: 9-12-3-0
Caps Game 36 Record: 14-13-5-1
All-Time vs. BUF: 33-76-15-1
All-Time home vs. BUF: 16-36-9-1
Last Season vs. BUF: 1-3-0
Last Meeting: 11/1/08, WAS 0 BUF 5

This Year:
WAS Record: 21-11-3
Standings Points: 45
Division Rank: 1st
Conference Rank: 3rd
Last Game: 12/23/08, WAS 5 NYR 4 (OT)
Streak: Win 1

BUF Record: 16-13-5
Standings Points: 37
Division Rank: 3rd
Conference Rank: 8th
Last Game: 12/22/08, BUF 3 PIT 4 (OT)
Streak: Loss 2

Probable Line-Ups:
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 25 KOZLOV
Forward Line 2: 33 GIROUX, 92 NYLANDER, 63 A. GORDON
Forward Line 3: 14 FLEISCHMANN, 21 LAICH, 16 FEHR
Forward Line 4: 39 STECKEL, 15 GORDON, 10 BRADLEY
Defense Pair 1: 62 COLLINS, 26 MORRISONN
Defense Pair 2: 23 JURCINA, 27 ALZNER
Defense Pair 3: 89 SLOAN, 43 HELMER
Goalie: 60 THEODORE
Back-up Goalie: 40 VARLAMOV

Buffalo
Forward Line 1: 41 MACARTHUR, 9 ROY, 21 STAFFORD
Forward Line 2: 26 VANEK, 55 HECHT, 29 POMINVILLE
Forward Line 3: 20 PAILLE, 22 MAIR, 12 KOTALIK
Forward Line 4: 76 PETERS, 37 ELLIS, 61 AFINOGENOV
Defense Pair 1: 6 SEKARA, 44 SPACEK
Defense Pair 2: 5 LYDMAN, 10 TALLINDER
Defense Pair 3: 27 NUMMINEN, 34 BUTLER
Goalie: 30 MILLER
Back-up Goalie: 40 LALIME

Injuries:
Washington – 2 POTHIER (concussion) IR, 91 FEDOROV (ankle) DTD, 55 SCHULTZ (broken finger) IR, 4 ERSKINE (undisclosed) DTD, 17 CLARK (forearm) IR, 28 SEMIN (back) DTD, 52 GREEN (shoulder) DTD, 87 BRASHEAR (leg) DTD, 1 JOHNSON (illness) DTD, 3 POTI (groin) DTD
Rangers – 52 RIVET (shoulder) IR, 42 GERBE (upper body) IR, 15 CONNOLLY (ribs) IR, 28 GAUSTAD (mouth) DTD, 36 KALETA (head/neck) DTD

Caps Milestones:
Brooks Laich needs 4 points to reach 100 in his career.
Mike Green needs 9 points to reach 100 in his career.
Tom Poti needs 9 points to reach 300 in his career.
Chris Clark needs 4 penalty minutes to reach 600 in his career.

Preview:
The Caps head right back into the fire after the 2-day Christmas break with a game against Buffalo. The Caps hope to build upon the 5 goal come from behind effort on Tuesday in New York. Traditionally, the Sabres have given the Capitals very tough games including a 5-0 whitewashing earlier this season. The Caps are still without half their regular lineup but have managed to go 8-2-0 in their last 10 games. In this game look for the Caps top line to try and take control early. The Caps defense tightened up well after giving up 4 goals to the Rangers so watch for them to continue to work as 5-man units to keep the scoring chances down. I am expecting another high scoring affair but the Caps have proved they are a force at home so I am looking for a Washington victory.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 6 BUF 4

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Game #35 Recap - Capitals 5 Rangers 4 (OT)

The Capitals were without half their starting lineup. They also spotted New York a 4-0 lead 5-minutes into the second period. Then the Caps performed their version of the Christmas miracle. Alex Ovechkin scored 2 goals including the tying goal to lead the Caps back to even. In the overtime, unlikely hero Shaone Morrisonn blasted a slap shot home to give the Caps a 5-4 victory.

The Caps now get a couple of days to recover and prepare for a match with Buffalo on Friday.

Of Note:
  • Alex Ovechkin's stat line: 2 goals, 1 assist, minus-2 rating, 13 shots on goal, 2 takeaways. As impressive as that is, it does not come close to the way he lifted the team and lead them in this comeback. Truly an MVP performance.
  • Nicklas Backstrom connected with 3 primary assists on the Caps first 3 goals. He now has 82 assists in his career and moves into 43th place on the Caps All-Time Assist Leaders list. He passed Doug Jarvis, Michael Nylander and Alexander Semin. Not bad for the second year player.
  • Tomas Fleischmann scored his 12th goal of the season on the power play. The Caps went 2 for 5 on with the extra man and held New York goalless in 3 attempts.
  • Viktor Kozlov scored on a brilliant shot from an even better pass from Backstrom. Kozlov now has 193 career goals. Who gets to 200 goals first, Ovechkin or Kozlov? Kozlov needs 7 but Alex is on his heels with 185.
  • With the win the Caps have won 8 of their last 10 games and hold a 8 point lead in the Southeast Division. Merry Christmas everyone!
Official Recap
Game Summary
Event Smmary



Monday, December 22, 2008

Game #35 Washington Capitals at New York Rangers

Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

When: December 23, 2008, 7:00 PM

History:
Caps Record on this Date: 11-6-4-0
Caps Game 35 Record: 15-13-5-0
All-Time vs. NYR: 83-74-18-4
All-Time at NYR: 35-43-9-1
Last Season vs. NYR: 2-2-0
Last Meeting: 11/10/08, WAS 3 NYR 1

This Year:
WAS Record: 20-11-3
Standings Points: 43
Division Rank: 1st
Conference Rank: 3rd
Last Game: 12/20/08, WAS 1 PHI 7
Streak: Loss 1

NYR Record: 22-12-2
Standings Points: 43
Division Rank: 1st
Conference Rank: 2nd
Last Game: 12/20/08, NYR 2 SAN 3
Streak: Loss 1

Probable Line-Ups:
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 25 KOZLOV
Forward Line 2: 14 FLEISCHMANN, 92 NYLANDER, 16 FEHR
Forward Line 3: 21 LAICH, 15 GORDON, 10 BRADLEY
Forward Line 4: ???, ???, 33 GIROUX
Defense Pair 1: ???, 26 MORRISONN
Defense Pair 2: 63 COLLINS, ???
Defense Pair 3: 23 JURCINA, 27 ALZNER
Goalie: 1 JOHNSON
Back-up Goalie: 60 THEODORE

Rangers
Forward Line 1: 91 NASLUND, 19 GOMEZ, 13 ZHERDEV
Forward Line 2: 10 DAWES, 23 DRURY, 24 CALLAHAN
Forward Line 3: 25 PRUCHA, 17 DUBINSKY, 20 SJOSTROM,
Forward Line 4: 34 VOROS, 49 FRITSCHE, 28 ORR
Defense Pair 1: 18 STAAL, 3 ROZSIVAL
Defense Pair 2: 5 GIRARDI, 6 REDDEN
Defense Pair 3: 27 MARA, 45 KALININ
Goalie: 30 LUNDQVIST
Back-up Goalie: 40 VALIQUETTE

Injuries:
Washington – 2 POTHIER (concussion) IR, 91 FEDOROV (ankle) DTD, 55 SCHULTZ (broken finger) IR, 4 ERSKINE (undisclosed) DTD, 17 CLARK (forearm) IR, 89 SLOAN (foot) DTD, (shoulder) DTD, 28 SEMIN (back) DTD, 52 GREEN (shoulder) DTD, 87 BRASHEAR (leg) DTD, 39 STECKEL (cold) DTD, 3 POTI (groin) DTD
Rangers – none

Caps Milestones:
Brooks Laich needs 5 points to reach 100 in his career.
Mike Green needs 9 points to reach 100 in his career.
Tom Poti needs 9 points to reach 300 in his career.
Chris Clark needs 4 penalty minutes to reach 600 in his career.

Preview:
After a humbling loss in Philly and the loss of possibly 4 more regulars to injury, the Caps head to New York to face the Rangers. The question will be who will be in the lineup for the Caps if all the players on the injured list are unable to play. Calls may be going out to Hershey to fill the holes but as to whom we will have to wait and see. To compensate the veterans will have to step up for the Caps. Look for the top line of Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov to pick up the slack and provide enough offense to help out the young defense corps. Watch the shot totals and if the Caps are near the Rangers they should be in good shape. I think the youth movement will push them to a victory.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 4 NYR 2

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Game #34 Recap - Capitals 1 Flyers 7

The Capitals came into this game looking to make a statement but were embarrassed 7-1. The first period looked good for the Caps who out shot the Flyers 25-6. Unfortunately, it was the Flyers who connected and lead 1-0 after the first. The second period was more of the same as Washington pounded out 14 more shots but Philly put up 2 more goals. The Caps changed goalies in the third but with no support the rout was on and Philly put 4 more on the board. Brooks Laich broke the shutout bid with his 8th goal of the season. To add to the misery Tom Poti was injured early and managed just 4:02 of ice time so the Caps had only 5 d-men for most of the game.

Of note:
  • In the first period Donald Brashear put a beat down on Flyers tough guy Riley Cote. The two squared off again in the third period and for the game The Donald racked up 26 penalty minutes on 6 penalties. He surpassed the 2,500 mark in penalty minutes for his career. That's nearly 42 hours in the sin bin!
  • With 15:12 of ice time, rookie Sean Collins had a pretty decent afternoon. He was a plus-1 with 1 hit, 1 takeaway and 2 blocked shots.
  • Alex Ovechkin was all over the place in this one with 12 shots on goal and 6 hits.
  • Milan Jurcina recorded 5 hits and 5 blocked shots.
  • The Caps out shot the Flyers 48 to 28 and won 35 of 68 face-offs.
Official Recap
Game Summary
Event Summary


Friday, December 19, 2008

Game #34 Washington Capitals at Philadelphia Flyers

Where: Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, PA

When: December 20, 2008, 1:00 PM

History:
Caps Record on this Date: 5-4-4-0
Caps Game 34 Record: 11-16-4-2
All-Time vs. PHI: 64-92-19-0
All-Time at PHI: 28-55-6-0
Last Season vs. PHI: 2-2-0
Last Meeting: 4/22/08, WAS 2 PHI 3 (OT)

This Year:
WAS Record: 20-10-3
Standings Points: 43
Division Rank: 1st
Conference Rank: 3rd
Last Game: 12/18/08, WAS 4 STL 2
Streak: Win 5

PHI Record: 17-8-6
Standings Points: 40
Division Rank: 2nd
Conference Rank: 4th
Last Game: 12/18/08, PHI 2 MON 5
Streak: Loss 1

Probable Line-Ups:
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 25 KOZLOV
Forward Line 2: 14 FLEISCHMANN, 92 NYLANDER, 16 FEHR
Forward Line 3: 21 LAICH, 39 STECKEL, 10 BRADLEY,
Forward Line 4: 87 BRASHEAR, 15 GORDON, 33 GIROUX
Defense Pair 1: 52 GREEN, 26 MORRISONN
Defense Pair 2: 63 COLLINS, 3 POTI
Defense Pair 3: 23 JURCINA, 47 ALZNER
Goalie: 1 JOHNSON
Back-up Goalie: 60 THEODORE

Philadelphia
Forward Line 1: 19 HARTNELL, 17 CARTER, 22 KNUBLE
Forward Line 2: 12 GAGNE, 18 RICHARDS, 45 ASHAM
Forward Line 3: 32 COTE, 13 METROPOLIT, 9 UPSHALL
Forward Line 4: 14 NODL, 36 POWE, 15 LUPUL
Defense Pair 1: 25 CARLE, 5 COBURN
Defense Pair 2: 23 VAANANEN, 44 TIMONEN
Defense Pair 3: 47 SBISA, 41 ALBERTS
Goalie: 43 BIRON
Back-up Goalie: 30 NITTYMAKI

Injuries:
Washington – 2 POTHIER (concussion) IR, 91 FEDOROV (ankle) DTD, 55 SCHULTZ (broken finger) IR, 4 ERSKINE (undisclosed) DTD, 17 CLARK (forearm) IR, 89 SLOAN (foot) DTD, (shoulder) DTD, 28 SEMIN (back) DTD
Philadelphia – 48 BRIERE (GROIN) IR, 61 BEAULIEU (undisclosed) IR, 77 PARENT (torn labrum) IR, 2 HATCHER (knee) IR, 4 RATHJE (BACK) IR

Caps Milestones:
Brooks Laich needs 6 points to reach 100 in his career.
Mike Green needs 9 points to reach 100 in his career.
Tom Poti needs 10 points to reach 300 in his career.
Chris Clark needs 4 penalty minutes to reach 600 in his career.

Preview:
For the first time since the seventh game of the first round of last season’s playoffs the Capitals will meet the Flyers. Both teams are on a roll as of late and this game is shaping up to be a good one. The Caps are still banged up and may be without Alexander Semin who took a cross check to the back in the game on Thursday. Look for there to be lots of hitting with Alex Ovechkin leading the way. He is tied for the 2nd most hits in the NHL this season with 112 in 31 games. Watch the secondary scoring as that will most likely be the difference maker in this one. I’m thinking Brooks Laich may hit the score sheet. I expect a hard hitting and extremely fast paced game with quite a bit of scoring.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 4 PHI 3

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Game #33 Recap - Capitals 4 Blues 2

The Capitals picked up another victory at home to improve their home record 13-1-1. They defeated the St. Louis Blues 4-2 with Viktor Kozlov picking up 2 goals and an assist. The Caps looked rather pedestrian in the win but a win is a win. Goalie Simeon Varlamov got the his second win in only his second NHL appearance. The goal tending future is looking bright for the Caps. Unfortunately for the Caps, both Mike Green and Alex Semin did not finish the game due to injury. The Caps have already lost over 150 man-games due to injury and that number is continuing to increase. The Caps keep putting up the wins so whatever they are doing seems to be working out. Let's just hope that trend continues.

Of Note:
  • Alex Ovechkin scored his 20th goal of the season. He now stands as the 7th most prolific goal scorer in Capitals history. In the last two games his has surpassed Dale Hunter, Michal Pivonka and Dennis Maruk.He is currently 3rd in the NHL with 43 points on the season.
  • The Capitals have won 5 games in a row and 7 of their last 8.
  • On the power play both teams scored 1 goal on 5 attempts.
  • Tomas Fleischmann scored his 11th goal this season. It was also his 3th game-winner tying him with Alexander Semin for the team lead.
  • Semin recorded an assist and has 1 point in 5 consecutive games.
  • For only the 9th time in 33 games this season the Caps were out drawn in the face-off circle. They won 26 and lost 32 (44.8%).
  • For the 5th consecutive game the Caps gave up more than 30 shots.
  • Ovechkin also led the hit parade with 5 hits. He has 112 on the season is tied for 2nd most in the NHL.
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Game Summary
Event Summary


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Game #33 St. Louis Blues at Washington Capitals

Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC

When: December 18, 2008, 7:00 PM

History:
Caps Record on this Date: 7-6-1-0
Caps Game 33 Record: 17-10-6-0
All-Time vs. STL: 34-36-12-0
All-Time home vs. STL: 21-14-4-0
Last Season vs. STL: 0-1-0
Last Meeting: 10/27/07, WAS 3 STL 4

This Year:
WAS Record: 19-10-3
Standings Points: 41
Division Rank: 1st
Conference Rank: 3rd
Last Game: 12/16/08, WAS 5 NYI 4 (OT)
Streak: Win 4

STL Record: 12-15-3
Standings Points: 27
Division Rank: 5th
Conference Rank: 15th
Last Game: 12/16/08, STL 3 CAL 6
Streak: Loss 4

Probable Line-Ups:
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 28 SEMIN
Forward Line 2: 14 FLEISCHMANN, 92 NYLANDER, 25 KOZLOV
Forward Line 3: 21 LAICH, 15 GORDON, 10 BRADLEY
Forward Line 4: 87 BRASHEAR, 39 STECKEL, 33 GIROUX
Defense Pair 1: 52 GREEN, 26 MORRISONN
Defense Pair 2: 63 COLLINS, 3 POTI
Defense Pair 3: 23 JURCINA, 47 ALZNER
Goalie: 1 JOHNSON
Back-up Goalie: 40 VAMARLOV

St. Louis
Forward Line 1: 42 BACKES, 7 TKACHUK, 22 BOYES
Forward Line 2: 57 PERRON, 21 BERGLUND, 15 WINCHESTER
Forward Line 3: 20 STEEN, 18 MCCLEMENT, 26 CROMBEEN
Forward Line 4: 55 JANSSEN, 25 STASTNY, 13 HINOTE
Defense Pair 1: 5 JACKMAN, 46 POLAK
Defense Pair 2: 28 COLAIACOVO, 29 WOYWITKA
Defense Pair 3: 43 WEAVER, 53 JUNLAND
Goalie: 50 MASON
Back-up Goalie: 30 BISHOP

Injuries:
Washington – 2 POTHIER (concussion) IR, 91 FEDOROV (ankle) DTD, 55 SCHULTZ (broken finger) IR, 4 ERSKINE (undisclosed) DTD, 17 CLARK (forearm) IR, 89 SLOAN (foot) DTD, 16 FEHR (shoulder) DTD, 60 THEODORE (hip flexor) DTD
St. Louis – 34 LEGACE (concussion) IR, 4 BREWER (upper body) IR, 6 JOHNSON (torn ACL) IR, 77 MCKEE (fractured finger) IR, 10 MCDONALD (broken leg) IR, 74 OSHIE (ankle) IR, 9 KARIYA (lower body) IR, 19 KING (shoulder) IR

Caps Milestones:
Brooks Laich needs 6 points to reach 100 in his career.
Mike Green needs 9 points to reach 100 in his career.
Tom Poti needs 10 points to reach 300 in his career.
Chris Clark needs 4 penalty minutes to reach 600 in his career.

Preview:
In Tuesday’s game, the Caps thought they had won the game in the second period. Hopefully they learned that even when playing teams that are not as talented they still need to work for every victory. Tonight’s game is with the last place team in the Western Conference but St. Louis has beaten the likes of Minnesota, Phoenix and Nashville all teams that gave the Capitals trouble this season. While I expect a victory, playing the Blues is not like going on a windy walk. Look for the Caps to work extremely hard and the power play to be more direct. Also, watch for the second line to generate some points. I think this will be very physical and a good win for the team.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 5 STL 3

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Game #32 Washington Capitals at New York Islanders

Where: Nassau Coliseum, Long Island, NY

When: December 16, 2008, 7:00 PM

History:

Caps Record on this Date: 6-3-3-0

Caps Game 32 Record: 16-15-2-0

All-Time vs. NYI: 81-79-13-2

All-Time at NYI: 38-46-2-1

Last Season vs. NYI: 1-2-2

Last Meeting: 12/4/08, WAS 5 NYI 2

This Year:

WAS Record: 18-10-3

Standings Points: 39

Division Rank: 1st

Conference Rank: 3rd

Last Game: 12/13/08, WAS 2 MON 1

Streak: Win 3

NYI Record: 10-18-2

Standings Points: 22

Division Rank: 5th

Conference Rank: 14th

Last Game: 12/8/08, BOS 5 TAM 3

Streak: Loss 6

Probable Line-Ups:

Washington

Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 28 SEMIN

Forward Line 2: 33 GIROUX, 92 NYLANDER, 25 KOZLOV

Forward Line 3: 21 LAICH, 15 GORDON, 16 FEHR

Forward Line 4: 87 BRASHEAR, 39 STECKEL, 10 BRADLEY

Defense Pair 1: 52 GREEN, 26 MORRISONN

Defense Pair 2: 3 POTI, 89 SLOAN

Defense Pair 3: 23 JURCINA, 47 ALZNER

Goalie: 1 JOHNSON

Back-up Goalie: 40 VARLAMOV

Islanders

Forward Line 1: 20 BERGENHEIM, 93 WEIGHT, 13 GUERIN

Forward Line 2: 11 HILBERT, 12 BAILEY, 7 HUNTER

Forward Line 3: 15 TAMBELLINI, 10 PARK, 16 SIM

Forward Line 4: 49 FRITZ, 18 SILLINGER, 28 JACKMAN

Defense Pair 1: 14 CAMPOLI, 2 STREIT

Defense Pair 2: 25 SUTTON, 44 MEYER

Defense Pair 3: 32 WITT, 17 POCK

Goalie: 25 MACDONALD

Back-up Goalie: 34 DANIS

Injuries:

Washington – 2 POTHIER (concussion) IR, 91 FEDOROV (ankle) DTD, 55 SCHULTZ (broken finger) IR, 4 ERSKINE (undisclosed) DTD, 17 CLARK (forearm) IR, 16 FEHR (shoulder) DTD, 14 FLEISCHMANN (lower body) DTD, 60 THEODORE (hip flexor) DTD

Islanders – 39 DIPETRO (knee) IR, 8 GERVAIS (leg) DTD, 24 MARTINEK (shoulder) DTD, 89 COMRIE (hip) IR, 51 NIELSON (leg) IR, 21 OKPOSO (arm) IR

Caps Milestones:

Brooks Laich needs 7 points to reach 100 in his career.

Shaone Morrisonn needs 2 penalty minutes to reach 300 in his career.

Preview:

The Capitals are coming off a big win in Montreal and head to Long Island to take on the Islanders. For the Caps the victory came with another big price as they lost Sergei Fedorov with a reoccurrence of his ankle injury. The Caps are still thin on defense and have kept rookie Sean Collins with the team as a precaution. The goaltending situation is still on end with Jose Theodore nursing a hip flexor injury. For now Simeon Varlamov will serve as Brent Johnson’s backup. The Islanders are in a tailspin having lost 5 consecutive games including the Dec. 2nd game at Verizon Center. However, the Caps cannot afford to take them lightly. Look for the team to try and get out to a fast start and take the heart out of the Islanders. Watch for the number one line as Alexander Semin’s return should take some of the defensive pressure off of Alex Ovechkin. I think the Caps will be too much in this one.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 6 NYI 2

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Game #30 Recap - Capitals 5 Senators 1

The Capitals are starting heal but the injury situation became quite chaotic yesterday when goalie Jose Theodore went down with a hip flexor in the morning skate. The Capitals farm team was in transit from San Antonio to Houston and it would not be until 4pm until the backup goalie Simeon Varlomov could leave Texas. In steps Capitals web producer and Capitals Report co-host Brett Leonhardt to fill in as backup goalie until Varlomov arrived. As for starting goalie Brent Johnson, we was feeling pretty good stopping 32 of the 33 shots he faced in the 5-1 Caps victory. Mike Green and Sergei Fedorov returned to the lineup each recording 3 points apiece. Alex Ovechkin and Niclaks Backstrom also recorded multiple point nights. It was good to see the Caps regulars back on the ice.

Of Note:
  • Alex Ovechkin scored goals #179 and #180 in his career. His next goal will tie him with Dale Hunter and Michal Pivonka for 8th on the Capitals All-Time Goal Scoring list.
  • Alexander Semin scored the first goal of the game on a sweet move to net and has points in both games he's played since returning from injury.
  • Tom Poti and Matt Bradley each had a assist. For Bradley it was his 100th career point in the NHL.
  • The Caps scored on 3 of 7 power plays and held Ottawa scoreless on their 4 chances.
  • In the last 10 games the Caps have averaged 3.00 goals per game and limited their opponents to 2.30 goals per game. Not bad considering the number of players the Caps have used during that span.
  • Brooks Laich scored his 2nd game-winner of the season.
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Game Summary
Event Summary


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Game #29 Recap - Capitals 3 Bruins 1

The Capitals showed just why everyone had such high expectations coming into this season. The Caps took it to Eastern Conference leading Bruins 3-1 last night. The highlights reels will be plastered with Brent Johnson saves as the Caps' goalie stood on his head for the team. Only a defensive lapse in the final minute of the second period denied him the shutout he deserved. The Caps played their system and did something, I noticed, had been lacking in recent games. That was getting the puck deep into the offensive zone and pounding the Boston defensemen. It was good to see the physical game return to the Caps as 15 of the 18 skaters recorded at least one hit. The offense scored one goal in each period with Nicklas Backstrom opening the scoring with a power play deflection goal. In the second Alexandre Giroux converted a rebound on a Viktor Kozlov shot. The scoring ended with an empty net goal from Alex Ovechkin in the final minute.

Of Note:
  • Ovechkin, Backstrom and Kozlov had 2 points each. Ovechkin and Backstrom had a goal and an assist each. Kozlov chipped in 2 assists.
  • Alexandre Giroux netted the game-winner but was stopped on a penalty shot early in the third period. The Hershey call up was leading the AHL in goal scoring prior to his recall to the Caps.
  • Oskar Osala made his NHL debut with the Caps. The rookie skated 11:15 and recorded 1 shot on goal, had 1 attempt blocked and missed the net on 1 other shot.
  • In the win, Brent Johnson stopped 33 of 34 shots on goal and was named the #1 Star of the Game.
  • The Caps converted on 1 of 2 power plays and held the Bruins scoreless on 3 attempts.
  • In the face-off circle the Caps thoroughly dominated winning 44 of 72 draws (61%).
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Event Summary

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Game #29 Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals

Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC

When: December 10, 2008, 7:00 PM

History:
Caps Record on this Date: 5-6-3-0
Caps Game 29 Record: 17-12-4-0
All-Time vs. BOS: 35-61-21-6
All-Time home vs. BOS: 19-27-12-3
Last Season vs. BOS: 2-2-0
Last Meeting: 3/16/08, WAS 2 BOS 1 (OT-SO)

This Year:
WAS Record: 15-10-3
Standings Points: 33
Division Rank: 1st
Conference Rank: 3rd
Last Game: 12/7/08, WAS 1 CAR 3
Streak: Loss 1

BOS Record: 19-4-4
Standings Points: 42
Division Rank: 1st
Conference Rank: 1st
Last Game: 12/8/08, BOS 5 TAM 3
Streak: Win 5

Probable Line-Ups:
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 92 NYLANDER
Forward Line 2: 14 FLEISCHMANN, 20 AUCOIN, 25 KOZLOV
Forward Line 3: 21 LAICH, 15 GORDON, 16 FEHR
Forward Line 4: 87 BRASHEAR, 39 STECKEL, 10 BRADLEY
Defense Pair 1: ???, 26 MORRISONN
Defense Pair 2: 62 COLLINS, 43 HELMER
Defense Pair 3: 23 JURCINA, 47 ALZNER
Goalie: 1 JOHNSON
Back-up Goalie: 60 THEODORE

Boston
Forward Line 1: 17 LUCIC, 91 SAVARD, 81 KESSEL
Forward Line 2: 11 AXELSSON, 46 KREJCI, 12 KOBASEW
Forward Line 3: 22 THORNTON, 37 BERGERON, 73 RYDER
Forward Line 4: 16 STURM, 29 NOKELAINEN, 26 WHEELER
Defense Pair 1: 6 WIDEMAN, 33 CHARA
Defense Pair 2: 34 HNIDY, 48 HUNWICK
Defense Pair 3: 44 WARD, 45 STUART
Goalie: 30 THOMAS
Back-up Goalie: 35 FERNANDEZ

Injuries:
Washington – 2 POTHIER (concussion) IR, 91 FEDOROV (ankle) DTD, 28 SEMIN (upper body) IR, 52 GREEN (shoulder) IR, 55 SCHULTZ (broken finger) IR, 3 POTI (groin) DTD, 4 ERSKINE (undisclosed) DTD, 17 CLARK (forearm) IR, 89 SLOAN (foot) DTD, 16 FEHR (shoulder) DTD
Boston – 21 FERENCE (broken leg) IR

Caps Milestones:
Matt Bradley needs 1 point to reach 100 in his career.
Nicklas Backstrom needs 6 points to reach 100 in his career.
Brooks Laich needs 8 points to reach 100 in his career.
Chris Clark needs 4 penalty minutes to reach 600 in his career.
Shaone Morrisonn needs 2 penalty minutes to reach 300 in his career.

Preview:
The good news for the Caps is that they are playing at home where they have amassed a 10-1-1 record. The bad news is they are taking on the Eastern Conference leading Boston Bruins and still have not had any returns from the injured reserved ranks. However, that may be changing as defensemen Sami Lepisto was sent down to Hershey on Monday. We do not know who will be replacing Lepisto but Tyler Sloan, Mike Green and Tom Poti are good candidates. Slone is probably the healthiest of the three. The Caps will need a big effort from the blue line as only Detroit (95) and San Jose (102) have scored more goals than the Bruins (94). The forwards will have a tough job as well because Boston has only allowed 59 goals against. Only Minnesota (56) has allowed fewer. Look for the Capitals to try and shoot often on the Boston net. They will need some secondary scoring if they want to win this game. Boston will try and match up 6’-9”, perennial All-Star, Zdeno Chara on Alex Ovechkin and the first line. Watch the passing of the Capitals early on in this one. Crisp passing early will be a good sign for the Caps are on their game.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 4 BOS 3

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Game #28 Recap - Capitals 1 Hurricanes 3

The Caps and Hurricanes both limped into last night's game but it was Carolina who got the win 3-1. The Caps had their chances including a penalty shot by Alex Ovechkin but they could only manage one goal. With 39 shots, the Caps sent plenty of rubber to the Carolina net but late in the third period the Caps gave up two goals to seal their fate.

The Caps once again had to call up a member of the Hershey Bears as Eric Fehr injured his shoulder in Saturday's victory in Toronto. This time the AHL's leading goal scorer, Alexandre Giroux, got the call. Since November 14th, the Caps have suffered injuries to 11 players. Those 11 have combined to miss 61 man-games of action. In that time the Caps have played 13 games with a 6-6-1 record. The Caps next play Boston on Wednesday at Verizon Center.

Of Note:
  • Nicklas Backstrom scored the only goal of the game for the Caps. The goal was Backstrom's 8th goal of the season.
  • Alex Ovechkin picked up the primary assist on Backstrom's goal for his team leading 35th point. Ovechkin failed to convert a penalty shot in the second period. He is 0 for 5 in penalty shots in his career.
  • The Caps out shot the Canes 39-25 but were out drawn in the face-off dot 20-34.
  • Jose Theodore got a secondary assist on the Cap's goal. He stopped 22 of 25 shots in the loss.
  • The Caps have now used 31 different players in the line-up this season.
Official Recap
Game Summary
Event Summary

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Game #28 Washington Capitals at Carolina Hurricanes

Where: RBC Center, Raleigh, NC

When: December 7, 2008, 5:00 PM

History:
Caps Record on this Date: 7-13-1-0
Caps Game 28 Record: 14-17-2-0
All-Time vs. CAR: 32-19-7-3
All-Time at CAR: 14-10-5-2
Last Season vs. CAR: 4-4-0
Last Meeting: 11/12/08, WAS 5 CAR 1

This Year:
WAS Record: 15-9-3
Standings Points: 33
Division Rank: 1st
Conference Rank: 3rd
Last Game: 12/6/08, WAS 2 TOR 1
Streak: Win 2

CAR Record: 12-12-3
Standings Points: 27
Division Rank: 2nd
Conference Rank: 9th
Last Game: 12/6/08, TOR 3 PHO 6
Streak: Loss 3

Season Series:
Game 1: 11/6/08, WAS 3 CAR 2
Game 2: 11/12/08, WAS 5 CAR 1

Probable Line-Ups:
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 92 NYLANDER
Forward Line 2: 14 FLEISCHMANN, 20 AUCOIN, 25 KOZLOV
Forward Line 3: 21 LAICH, 15 GORDON, 16 FEHR
Forward Line 4: 87 BRASHEAR, 39 STECKEL, 10 BRADLEY
Defense Pair 1: 42 LEPISTO, 26 MORRISONN
Defense Pair 2: 89 SLOAN, 43 HELMER
Defense Pair 3: 23 JURCINA, 47 ALZNER
Goalie: 60 THEODORE
Back-up Goalie: 1 JOHNSON

Carolina
Forward Line 1: 14 SAMSONOV, 12 STAAL, 24 WALKER
Forward Line 2: 15 RUUTU, 17 BRIND’AMOUR, 44 EAVES
Forward Line 3: 13 WHITNEY, 8 CULLEN, 38 CONBOY
Forward Line 4: 59 LAROSE, 16 SUTTER, 24 WILLIAMS
Defense Pair 1: 25 PITKANEN, 77 CORVO
Defense Pair 2: 5 KABERLE, 7 WALLIN
Defense Pair 3: 53 BORER, 33 BABCHUK
Goalie: 49 LEIGHTON
Back-up Goalie: 30 WARD

Injuries:
Washington – 2 POTHIER (concussion) IR, 91 FEDOROV (ankle) DTD, 28 SEMIN (upper body) IR, 52 GREEN (shoulder) IR, 55 SCHULTZ (broken finger) IR, 3 POTI (groin) DTD, 4 ERSKINE (undisclosed) DTD, 17 CLARK (forearm) IR, 89 SLOAN (foot) DTD, 16 FEHR (shoulder) DTD
Carolina – 4 SEIDENBERG (leg) IR, 30 WARD (groin) DTD, 6 GLEASON (leg) IR, 45 TANABE (concussion) IR

Caps Milestones:
Matt Bradley needs 1 point to reach 100 in his career.
Nicklas Backstrom needs 7 points to reach 100 in his career.
Chris Clark needs 4 penalty minutes to reach 600 in his career.
Shaone Morrisonn needs 4 penalty minutes to reach 300 in his career.

Preview:
This will be a tough game for the Caps. They played a game last night in Toronto and travel to Carolina to meet the Hurricanes in an early 5:00 game. The Caps may have also lost Eric Fehr who injured his shoulder against the Leafs. The Caps need to keep their energy up and stay out of the penalty box. The Canes recently replaced their head coach and will be looking to make a statement in tonight’s game. Look for a low scoring affair and hopefully the Caps can get out of this game with all their personnel intact.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 3 CAR 1

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Game #27 Recap - Capitals 2 Maple Leafs 1

The Caps pulled out a 2-1 victory in Toronto last evening. It was an ugly victory but I'll take any road victory at this point. Unfortunately, Eric Fehr may have injured his shoulder. The injury situation is absolutely unbelievable. Defensemen Tyler Sloan was out with a foot injury so Sean Collins made his NHL debut. Now the Caps head to Carolina for a game tonight with the Hurricanes.

Of Note:
  • Karl Alzner scored his first NHL goal and assisted on the game-winner from Milan Jurcina. Alzner also recorded his first NHL hit.
  • Brent Johnson stopped 19 of 20 shots for the victory.
  • The Caps out shot the Leafs 30-20 and won 28 of 54 face-offs.
  • Micheal Nylander recorded an assist on the Jurcina goal.
  • Bryan Helmer blocked 5 shots and had 2 takeaways.
  • Alex Ovechkin had 7 shots on goal and 6 hits but was held off the score sheet.
Official Recap
Game Summary
Event Summary


Friday, December 5, 2008

Game #27 Washington Capitals at Toronto Maple Leafs

Where: Air Canada Center, Toronto, Ontario

When: December 6, 2008, 7:00 PM

History:
Caps Record on this Date: 6-6-1-0
Caps Game 27 Record: 15-13-5-0
All-Time vs. TOR: 51-47-10-2
All-Time at TOR: 19-27-6-1
Last Season vs. TOR: 2-2-0
Last Meeting: 2/20/08, WAS 2 NYI 3 (OT-SO)

This Year:
WAS Record: 14-9-3
Standings Points: 31
Division Rank: 1st
Conference Rank: 3rd
Last Game: 12/4/08, WAS 5 NYI 2
Streak: Win 1

TOR Record: 9-11-6
Standings Points: 24
Division Rank: 4th
Conference Rank: 11th
Last Game: 12/4/08, TOR 3 PHO 6
Streak: Loss 2

Probable Line-Ups:
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 92 NYLANDER
Forward Line 2: 14 FLEISCHMANN, 20 AUCOIN, 25 KOZLOV
Forward Line 3: 21 LAICH, 15 GORDON, 16 FEHR
Forward Line 4: 87 BRASHEAR, 39 STECKEL, 10 BRADLEY
Defense Pair 1: 42 LEPISTO, 26 MORRISONN
Defense Pair 2: 89 SLOAN, 43 HELMER
Defense Pair 3: 23 JURCINA, 47 ALZNER
Goalie: 60 THEODORE
Back-up Goalie: 1 JOHNSON

Toronto
Forward Line 1: 41 KULEMIN, 84 GRABOVSKI, 9 HAGMAN
Forward Line 2: 80 ANTROPOV, 14 STAJAN, 12 STEMPNIAK
Forward Line 3: 23 PONIKAROVSKY, 19 MOORE, 55 BLAKE
Forward Line 4: 44 HOLLWEG, 39 MITCHELL, 56 DEVEAUX
Defense Pair 1: 2 SCHENN, 15 KABERLE
Defense Pair 2: 4 FINGER, 77 KUBINA
Defense Pair 3: 7 WHITE, 36 STRALMAN
Goalie: 35 TOSKALA
Back-up Goalie: 31 JOSEPH

Injuries:
Washington – 2 POTHIER (concussion) IR, 91 FEDOROV (ankle) DTD, 28 SEMIN (upper body) IR, 52 GREEN (shoulder) IR, 55 SCHULTZ (broken finger) IR, 3 POTI (groin) DTD, 4 ERSKINE (undisclosed) DTD, 17 CLARK (forearm) IR
Toronto – VAN RYN (concussion, broken nose, broken finger) IR, FROGREN (arm) IR, MAYERS (hand) IR

Caps Milestones:
Matt Bradley needs 1 point to reach 100 in his career.
Nicklas Backstrom needs 7 points to reach 100 in his career.
Chris Clark needs 4 penalty minutes to reach 600 in his career.
Shaone Morrisonn needs 4 penalty minutes to reach 300 in his career.

Preview:
Washington heads to Toronto to face the Maple Leafs and again will be without 7 of their regulars due to injury. The Caps road record has left much to be desired as they have only won 4 of 14 contests. On Thursday the team was able to generate secondary scoring and this was the difference in the game. Look for the team to try and repeat this effort. Be sure to watch the shot counter and if the Caps have more than 30 shots on goal they more than likely will be having a good night. I think the team will pull together a hard fought victory over the Leafs.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 4 TOR 3

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Game #26 Recap - Capitals 5 Islanders 2

After being scolded by their coach for their effort on Tuesday, the Caps came out and took it to the Islanders 5-2. The game started with the Caps buzzing around the Islander zone and scoring on two power plays. However, they could not put the game out of reach and the Islanders came back and tied the game at 2-2. The Caps then took control in the third, they out shot New York 18 to 8 in the period and scored 3 goals. Secondary scoring was the key as Donald Brashear got the game-winner and Eric Fehr added an insurance marker. It was Brashear's first goal of the season and couldn't have come at a better time.

Of Note:
  • Alex Ovechkin had 1 goal and 2 assists. He moved ahead of Steve Konowalchuk and tied Hall of Famer Larry Murphy for 16th place on the Capitals All-time point scoring list.
  • The Caps were 3 for 5 on the power play and killed off 7 of 8 Islander power play attempts.
  • Brashear's goal was his 10th as a Capital and 1st game-winner.
  • The Caps were credited with a season low 5 hits in the game. They recorded a season high of 47 shots on goal.
  • Brent Johnson got the win stopping 27 of 29 shots he faced.
  • Karl Alzner and Bryan Helmer each recorded their first points as a member of the Caps. For Alzner it was his first NHL point ever, however, in 5 games he has yet to record a hit.
  • Viktor Kozlov and Nicklas Backstrom each scored a goal in the game. Milan Jurcina and Brooks Laich each had 2 assists. Sami Lepisto had an assist.
Official Recap
Game Summary
Event Summary

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