Sunday, December 26, 2010

Game #38 Preview: Washington Capitals at Carolina Hurricanes



Where: RBC Center, Raleigh, NC

When:  December 26, 2010 7:00 PM

History:           
Caps Record on this Date: 11-12-3-0
Caps Game 38 Record: 16-15-3-1
All-Time vs. CAR: 39-23-7-5
All-Time at CAR: 17-12-4-4
Last Season vs. CAR: 3-1-2
Last Meeting: 11/28/10, WAS 3 CAR 2 (OT-SO)
Season Series: 3-0-0

This Year:
WAS Record: 20-12-5
Standings Points: 45
Division Rank: 2nd
Conference Rank: 5th
Last Game: 12/23/10, WAS 2 PIT 3 (OT-SO)
Streak: Loss 1

CAR Record: 15-14-4
Standings Points: 34
Division Rank: 4th
Conference Rank: 9th    
Last Game: 12/23/10, CAR 2 MON 3
Streak: Loss 2

Probable Line-Ups:     
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 28 SEMIN
Forward Line 2: 21 LAICH, 85 PERRAULT, 22 KNUBLE
Forward Line 3: 25 CHIMERA, 90 JOHANSSON, 16 FEHR
Forward Line 4: 39 STECKEL, 83 BEAGLE, 63 GORDON
Defense Pair 1: 52 GREEN, 23 HANNAN
Defense Pair 2: 27 ALZNER, 74 CARLSON
Defense Pair 3: 3 POTI, 4 ERSKINE
Goalie: 30 NEUVIRTH
Back-up Goalie: 1 VARLAMOV

Carolina
Forward Line 1: 53 SKINNER, 12 STAAL, 26 COLE
Forward Line 2: 36 JOKINEN, 16 SUTTER, 15 RUUTU
Forward Line 3: 14 SAMSONOV, 59 LAROSE, 39 DWYER
Forward Line 4: 11 BOYCHUK, 29 CARTER, 20 BODIE
Defense Pair 1: 6 GLEASON, 77 CORVO
Defense Pair 2: 25 PITKANEN, 7 WHITE
Defense Pair 3: 4 MCBAIN, 44 HARRISON
Goalie: 30 WARD
Back-up Goalie: 60 PETERS

Injuries:
Washington – 55 SCHULTZ (broken thumb) IR, 89 SLOAN (hip flexor) IR, 15 GORDON (lower body) IR, 17 KING (undisclosed) IR, 10 BRADLEY (broken finger) IR, 26 HENDRICKS (illness) DTD

CAR – 19 TLUSTY (upper body) IR

Caps Milestones:
Mike Knuble needs 2 points to reach 500 in his career.
Nicklas Backstrom needs 7 points to reach 300 in his career.

Preview:

After losing an epic game in the shootout against the Penguins the Capitals cannot afford a letdown. They travel to Carolina for a game against the 4th place team in the Southeast Division. If they play with the same intensity and desire then they should be alright but if they sink to level of their competition then all bets are off. Washington needs to bring that effort more consistently and when the big guns get back on line then it will be a sight to behold. Alex Ovechkin is having a particularly tough stretch. He has not scored a goal in 8 games and does not have a power play point in 13, which is the longest power play outage in his career. His current pace will have him finish with the fewest shots on goal for any season in his career along with the most shot attempts blocked by the competition. Simply, he needs to find more ways to get his shot on the net. Look for the Capitals to continue their assault on the offensive zone. In the most recent games they have been very effective keeping the opposition hemmed in their own zone and taking advantage of the turnovers. I expect a fired up Capitals team that is brimming with confidence and a big chip on it’s should. Caps should win big.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 5 CAR 1

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