Sunday, March 6, 2011

Game #66 Preview: Washington Capitals at Florida Panthers



Where: Bank Atlantic Center, Sunshine, FL

When:  March 6, 2011, 5:00 PM

History:           
Caps Record on this Date: 8-3-4-0
Caps Game 66 Record: 15-15-1-3
All-Time vs. FLA: 46-33-9-7
All-Time at FLA: 22-19-4-2
Last Season vs. FLA: 6-0-0
Last Meeting: 1/11/11, WAS 3 FLA 4 (OT)
Season Series: 1-1-1

This Year:
WAS Record: 35-20-10
Standings Points: 80
Division Rank: 2nd
Conference Rank: 5th
Last Game: 3/4/11, WAS 3 STL 2
Streak: Win 3

FLA Record: 26-31-8
Standings Points: 60
Division Rank: 5th
Conference Rank: 13th
Last Game: 3/5/11, FLA 3 ATL 4 (OT)
Streak: Lost 4

Probable Line-Ups:     
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 22 KNUBLE
Forward Line 2: 21 LAICH, 44 ARNOTT, 28 SEMIN
Forward Line 3:18 STURM, 90 JOHANSSON, 25 CHIMERA
Forward Line 4: 26 HENDRICKS, 15 GORDON, 10 BRADLEY
Defense Pair 1: 23 HANNAN, 6 WIDEMAN
Defense Pair 2: 27 ALZNER, 74 CARLSON
Defense Pair 3: 55 SCHULTZ, 4 ERSKINE
Goalie: 30 NEUVIRTH
Back-up Goalie: 70 HOLTBY

Florida
Forward Line 1: 14 SAMSONOV, 9 WEISS, 11 BERFORS
Forward Line 2: 10 BOOTH, 13 SANTORELLI, 26 BERNIER
Forward Line 3: 17 MCARDLE, 19 REASONER, 32 REPIK
Forward Line 4: 16 HORDICHUK, 75 TIMMINS, 37 THOMAS
Defense Pair 1: 52 GARRISON, 43 WEAVER
Defense Pair 2: 4 ELLERBY, 2 SULZER
Defense Pair 3: 7 KULIKOV, 48 CALLAHAN
Goalie: 29 VOKOUN
Back-up Goalie: 30 CLEMMENSEN

Injuries:
Washington – 3 POTI (upper body) IR, 16 FEHR (upper body) IR, 52 GREEN (head) DTD, 1 VARLAMOV (undisclosed) DTD

FLA – SKILLE (ankle) IR, CARTER (upper body) IR, OLESZ (knee) IR, DADONOV (broken finger) IR, MATTHIAS (broken ankle) IR, CULLEN (Achilles) IR, BITZ (lower body) IR

Caps Milestones:
Brooks Laich needs 2 goals to reach 100 in his career.
Jason Arnott needs 3 goals to reach 400 in his career.
Jason Chimera needs 4 goals to reach 100 in his career.
Alex Ovechkin needs 6 goals to reach 300 in his career.
Jason Arnott needs 1 point to reach 900 in his career.
Alex Ovechkin needs 4 points to reach 600 in his career.
Dennis Wideman needs 2 points to reach 200 in his career.

Preview:

The Capitals head to Florida with a 3 game winning streak and a chance to catch Tampa for at the top of the SE Division standings but first they must deal with a Florida that has nothing to lose. The last 6 wins by the Capitals have come in 1 goal games so they need to take every game seriously. The Panthers are already playing for next season so it is important to take them out of the game early. The Capitals top lines are starting to click again and have been vastly improved in the two games since the trade deadline. The third and fourth lines need to step up and chip in on the score sheet. I am looking for a breakout of sorts from the line of Chimera-Johansson-Strum. The speed is unbelievable but the finishing hasn’t been there. I expect these guys to put one up in today’s game.  I am thinking that the Caps will take care of business in Sunshine and come away with the two points and with more than a 1 goal cushion.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 4 FLA 1

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