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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