Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Game #41 Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning at Washington Capitals

Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC

When:  January 4, 2011, 7:00 PM

Caps Record on this Date: 5-5-6-0
Caps Game 41 Record: 10-15-9-1
All-Time vs. TAM: 60-26-6-4
All-Time at Home vs. TAM: 32-11-4-2
Last Season vs. TAM: 4-2-0
Last Meeting: 11/26/10, WAS 6 TAM 0

This Year:
WAS Record: 23-12-5
Standings Points: 51
Division Rank: 2nd
Conference Rank: 5th
Last Game: 1/1/11, WAS 3 PIT 1
Streak: Win 3

TAM Record: 23-11-5
Standings Points: 51
Division Rank: 1st
Conference Rank: 2nd    
Last Game: 1/1/11, TAM 2 NYR 1 (OT)
Streak: Win 2

Probable Line-Ups:     
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 22 KNUBLE
Forward Line 2: 21 LAICH, 85 PERRAULT, 28 SEMIN
Forward Line 3: 25 CHIMERA, 90 JOHANSSON, 14 FEHR
Forward Line 4: 26 HENDRICKS, 83 BEAGLE, 39 STECKEL
Defense Pair 1: 52 GREEN, 23 HANNAN
Defense Pair 2: 27 ALZNER, 74 CARLSON
Defense Pair 3: 55 SCHULTZ, 4 ERSKINE
Goalie: 1 VARLAMOV
Back-up Goalie: 30 NEUVIRTH

Tampa Bay
Forward Line 1: 6 MALONE, 91 STAMKOS, 26 ST. LOUIS
Forward Line 3: 21 RITOLA, 19 MOORE, 16 PURCELL
Forward Line 4: 18 HALL, 44 THOMPSON, 42 TYRELL
Defense Pair 1: 39 LUNDIN, 5 OHLUND
Defense Pair 2: 7 CLARK, 77 HEDMAN
Defense Pair 3: 8 JONES, 13 KUBINA
Goalie: 33 ELLIS
Back-up Goalie: 35 ROLOSON

Washington – 3 POTI (undisclosed) DTD, 15 GORDON (lower body) IR, 17 KING (undisclosed) IR, 10 BRADLEY (broken finger) IR

TAM – 9 DOWNIE (ankle) IR, 41 SMITH (knee) IR

Caps Milestones:
Mike Knuble needs 1 point to reach 500 in his career.
Nicklas Backstrom needs 5 points to reach 300 in his career.


After winning the Winter Classic, the Caps must now focus on the Southeast Division. The first place Tampa Bay Lightning visit the Phone Booth looking to payback Washington for the 6-0 rout they absorbed in their last meeting. The Capitals are rolling in their last 6 games with a 5-0-1 record and have allowed only 7 goals against in those games. This should be another tight game for the Capitals who need to continue the momentum from the big January 1st victory. The new defensive system has been getting good buy in from the players and becoming very effective. You’ve got to ask yourself, with all the talent the Caps have on offense, how are the other teams in league viewing this change? I’m thinking that they do not want to face this team playing shut down, especially if they can get the power play rolling and you know it’s going to get rolling. Key match up in against Tampa is who defends the Stamkos line. Look for Karl Alzner and John Carlson to be out there. The rookie pair has been getting big minutes against the league’s best lines and they are only going to get better. They are a combined +13 in the last 6 games. I expect a little more scoring in this game but the Caps win going away.   

Joe’s prediction: Caps 5 TAM 3

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