Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Game #26 Preview: Washington Capitals at St. Louis Blues

Where: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO

When:  December 1, 2010 8:00 PM

Caps Record on this Date: 8-7-0-0
Caps Game 26 Record: 16-16-3-0
All-Time vs. STL: 35-36-12-1
All-Time at STL: 13-22-8-1
Last Season vs. STL: 0-0-1
Last Meeting: 2/13/10, WAS 3 STL 4 (OT-SO)

This Year:
WAS Record: 17-6-2
Standings Points: 36
Division Rank: 1st
Conference Rank: 1st      
Last Game: 11/28/10, WAS 3 CAR 2 (OT-SO)
Streak: Win 3

STL Record: 12-8-3
Standings Points: 27
Division Rank: 4th
Conference Rank: 8th    
Last Game: 11/30/10, STL 5 CHI 7
Streak: Lost 3

Probable Line-Ups:     
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 28 SEMIN
Forward Line 2: 21 LAICH, 90 JOHANSSON, 22 KNUBLE
Forward Line 3: 25 CHIMERA, 15 GORDON, 16 FEHR
Forward Line 4: 26 HENDRICKS, 39 STECKEL, 10 BRADLEY
Defense Pair 1: 55 SCHULTZ, 52 GREEN
Defense Pair 2: 27 ALZNER, 74 CARLSON
Defense Pair 3: 4 ERSKINE, 3 POTI
Goalie: 30 NEUVIRTH
Back-up Goalie: 1 VARLAMOV

St. Louis
Forward Line 1:15  WINCHESTER, 10 MCDONALD, 22 BOYES
Forward Line 2: 32 PORTER, 20 STEEN, 42 BACKES
Forward Line 3: 57 PERRON, 21 BERGLUND, 36 D’AGOSTINI
Forward Line 4: 18 MCCLEMENT, 17 SOBOTKA, 26 CROMBEEN
Defense Pair 1: 4 BREWER, 27 PIETRANGELO
Defense Pair 2: 5 JACKMAN, 6 JOHNSON
Defense Pair 3: 64 NIKITIN, 28 COLAIACOVO
Goalie: 41 HALAK
Back-up Goalie: 29 CONKLIN

Washington – 89 SLOAN (undisclosed) IR

STL – 74 OSHIE (ankle) IR, 46 POLAK (wrist) IR

Caps Milestones:
Jason Chimera needs 1 point to reach 200 in his career.
Nicklas Backstrom needs 2 shots on goal to reach 600 in his career.


Washington heads west for a back to back in the Western Conference. They first take on St. Louis then turn around for a tilt in Dallas. St. Louis like Washington has built an impressive home record. The Caps will remember the new Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak who thwarted them in the first round seven game series in last season’s playoffs. The Caps will look to build on their more consistent play in the last three games. In the meantime the Caps bolstered their defenses when they acquired Scott Hannan from Colorado for Tomas Fleischmann. It is unclear if Hannan will play with the team in St. Louis. As a team, the Caps have been getting off to better starts and have scored in the first period in three consecutive games. Prior to this current streak, Washington had only accomplished that in the first three games of the season. Watch for the play between the blue lines. With Tom Poti and Mike Green back from injury expect the Capitals to be much tighter on defense and that includes disrupting the play coming into the Capitals defensive zone. The penalty killing has tightened up as well as they have allowed only one power play goal in the last 12 attempts and that was two games ago. I am thinking this will be a tactical matchup that will be won or lost in the neutral zone and look out for the Capitals secondhand scoring to come through for the victory.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 4 STL 3

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