Friday, February 25, 2011

Game #62 Preview: New York Rangers at Washington Capitals


Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC

When:  February 25, 2011, 7:00 PM

History:           
Caps Record on this Date: 5-9-2-0
Caps Game 62 Record: 13-16-3-2
All-Time vs. NYR: 89-76-18-6
All-Time at home vs. NYR: 50-32-9-4
Last Season vs. NYR: 3-1-0
Last Meeting: 1/24/11, WAS 1 NYR 2 (OT-SO)
Season Series: 1-1-1

This Year:
WAS Record: 32-19-10
Standings Points: 74
Division Rank: 2nd
Conference Rank: 5th
Last Game: 2/21/11, WAS 1 PIT 0
Streak: Win 2

NYR Record: 32-26-4
Standings Points: 68
Division Rank: 3rd
Conference Rank: 7th
Last Game: 2/22/11, NYR 4 CAR 3 (OT-SO)
Streak: Win 1

Probable Line-Ups:     
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 22 KNUBLE
Forward Line 2: 21 LAICH, 90 JOHANSSON, 28 SEMIN
Forward Line 3: 26 HENDRICKS, 85 PERRAULT, 25 CHIMERA
Forward Line 4: 39 STECKEL, 15 GORDON, 10 BRADLEY
Defense Pair 1: 23 HANNAN, 55 SCHULTZ
Defense Pair 2: 27 ALZNER, 74 CARLSON
Defense Pair 3:89 SLOAN, 4 ERSKINE
Goalie: 1 VARLAMOV
Back-up Goalie: 30 NEUVIRTH

New York
Forward Line 1: 17 DUBINSKY, 42 ANISIMOV, 24 CALLAHAN
Forward Line 2: 20 PROSPAL, 26 CHRISTENSEN, 22 BOYLE
Forward Line 3: 86 WOLOSKI, 21 STEPAN, 36 ZUCCARELLO
Forward Line 4: 16 AVERY, 45 NEWBURY, 8 PRUST
Defense Pair 1: 18 STAAL, 5 GIRARDI
Defense Pair 2: 27 MCDONAGH, 38 SAUER
Defense Pair 3: 4 DEL ZOTTO, 97 GILROY
Goalie: 30 LUNDQVIST
Back-up Goalie: 43 BIRON

Injuries:
Washington – 3 POTI (upper body) IR, 16 FEHR (upper body) IR, 52 GREEN (inner ear) DTD

NYR – BOOGAARD (concussion) IR, DRURY (knee) IR, GABORIK (concussion) IR, FEDOTENKO (shoulder) IR, FROLOV (knee) IR

Caps Milestones:
Jason Chimera needs 4 goals to reach 100 in his career.
Brooks Laich needs 4 goals to reach 100 in his career.
Alex Ovechkin needs 2 assists to reach 300 in his career.

Preview:

They the hardest game for a team after a big road trip is the first game, whoever “they” are. For Washington, however, there should be no reason to show up unprepared as they meet the Rangers for the fourth and final time of the season. The last two matchups between these two teams has seen the Caps get blown away 7-0 and then they blew a 1-goal lead in the third period and lost in the shootout. In the final two games of the road trip the Capitals allowed 1 goal against and appear to be getting back their top line scoring. Alex Ovechkin has 4 goals and 7 points in the last 6 games. We will have to see if the broken thumb Nicklas Backstrom suffered in Pittsburgh will have any effect on the number one line. The Rangers sit in the 7th spot in the East with 4 teams within 8 points of them in the standings. The Rangers lost Marian Gaborik to a concussion last week so this one should be a low scoring affair. The Ranger will play a hardworking game against the Capitals and try to keep them to the outsides of the ice. The key for Washington will be their work ethic and special teams. If they can keep the effort high they can draw penalties and they will need to convert on the power play. The extra man attack has goals in three consecutive games and this trend will have to continue. I expect a very physical, grid it out sort of game with the Caps pulling it out late.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 3 NYR 1



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