Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Game #51 Preview: Washington Capitals at Atlanta Thrashers



Where: Phillips Arena, Atlanta, GA

When:  January 26, 2011, 7:00 PM

History:           
Caps Record on this Date: 10-7-2-0
Caps Game 51 Record: 21-9-4-0
All-Time vs. ATL: 36-21-5-5
All-Time at ATL: 14-13-2-4
Last Season vs. ATL: 6-0-0
Last Meeting: 12/4/10, WAS 1 ATL 3
Season Series: 2-3-0

This Year:
WAS Record: 27-14-9
Standings Points: 63
Division Rank: 2nd
Conference Rank: 5th
Last Game: 1/24/11, WAS 1 NYR 2 (OT-SO)
Streak: Loss 1

ATL Record: 23-19-9
Standings Points: 55
Division Rank: 3rd
Conference Rank: 8th    
Last Game: 1/23/11, ATL 1 TAM 7
Streak: Loss 3

Probable Line-Ups:     
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 25 CHIMERA
Forward Line 2: 21 LAICH, 85 PERRAULT, 22 KNUBLE  
Forward Line 3: 26 HENDRICKS, 90 JOHANSSON, 83 BEAGLE
Forward Line 4: 17 KING, 15 GORDON, 39 STECKEL
Defense Pair 1: 52 GREEN, 55 SCHULTZ
Defense Pair 2: 27 ALZNER, 74 CARLSON
Defense Pair 3: 23 HANNAN, 4 ERSKINE
Goalie: 1 VARLAMOV
Back-up Goalie: 70 HOLTBY

Atlanta
Forward Line 1: 19 MODIN, 47 PEVERLY, 18 BERGFORS
Forward Line 2: 45 CORMIER, 10 LITTLE, 22 STEWART
Forward Line 3: 27 THORBURN, 8 BURMISTROV, 36 BOULTON
Forward Line 4: 15 DAWES, 14 STAPLETON, 80 ANTROPOV
Defense Pair 1: 33 BYFUGLIEN, 29 ODUYA
Defense Pair 2: 4 BOGOSIAN, 6 HAINSEY
Defense Pair 3: 24 MEYER, 3 SOPEL
Goalie: 31 PAVELEC
Back-up Goalie: 34 MANNINO

Injuries:
Washington – 3 POTI (upper body) IR, 10 BRADLEY (broken finger) IR, 28 SEMIN (hip) DTD, 16 FEHR (upper body) DTD, 30 NEUVIRTH (lower body) DTD

NYR – 16 LADD (lower body) DTD, 39 ENSTROM (hand) DTD, 50 MASON (knee) IR, 23 SLATER (concussion) IR

Caps Milestones:
Scott Hannan will play in NHL career game #800.
Jason Chimera needs 5 goals to reach 100 in his career.
Brooks Laich needs 7 goals to reach 100 in his career.
Alex Ovechkin needs 8 assists to reach 300 in his career.

Preview:

In their final game before the All-Star break, the Capitals head down to Atlanta to take on the Thrashers in the last meeting of the regular season for the two Southeast Division rivals. Washington needs to win if they want to keep pace with the SE Division leading Tampa Bay. Atlanta has dropped its last three and trail the Caps by 8 points in the Division race. So far this season the Thrashers have had the Capitals number winning 3 of the previous 5 games. Washington will need another hardworking effort if they want to come away with the two points as the team has had major trouble putting up offense. The defense has been very good lately surrendering only 34 goals in the last 18 games. The penalty kill has been exceptional giving up only 6 power play goals against in those same 18 games and 3 of those came with the Caps having only 3 defenders. Look for the Capitals to press the offense a little more as Alex Ovechkin is showing signs of returning to his usual self. He has 6 points in his last 4 games and has scored more goals (30) and points (63) against Atlanta than any other opponent he has faced. I think the Caps will get a good start and an early lead and let the defense take over for the win.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 3 ATL 2

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