Saturday, April 2, 2011

Game #79 Preview: Buffalo Sabres at Washington Capitals

Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC

When:  April 2, 2011, 7:00 PM

Caps Record on this Date: 4-4-1-0
Caps Game 79 Record: 15-15-3-1
All-Time vs. BUF: 40-77-15-3
All-Time at home vs. BUF: 20-36-9-2
Last Season vs. BUF: 3-1-0
Last Meeting: 2/20/11, WAS 2 BUF 1
Season Series: 2-0-1

This Year:
WAS Record: 45-22-11
Standings Points: 101
Division Rank: 1st
Conference Rank: 2nd
Last Game: 3/29/11, WAS 4 CLB 3 (OT)
Streak: Win 1

BUF Record: 39-29-9
Standings Points: 87
Division Rank: 3rd
Conference Rank: 7th    
Last Game: 3/30/11, BUF 1 NYR 0
Streak: Win 1

Probable Line-Ups:     
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 22 KNUBLE
Forward Line 2: 18 STURM, 44 ARNOTT, 28 SEMIN
Forward Line 3: 21 LAICH, 90 JOHANSSON, 25 CHIMERA
Forward Line 4: 26 HENDRICKS, 15 GORDON, 10 BRADLEY
Defense Pair 1: 55 SCHULTZ, 23 HANNAN
Defense Pair 2: 27 ALZNER, 74 CARLSON
Defense Pair 3: 89 SLOAN, 4 ERSKINE
Goalie: 30 NEUVIRTH
Back-up Goalie: 1 VARLAMOV

Forward Line 1: 26 VANEK, 19 CONNOLLY, 29 POMINVILLE
Forward Line 2: 63 ENNIS, 22 BOYES, 21 STAFFORD
Forward Line 3: 42 GERBE, 28 GAUSTAD, 12 MANCARI
Defense Pair 1: SEKARA, 6 WEBER
Defense Pair 2: 34 BUTLER, 57 MYERS
Defense Pair 3: 17 GRAGNANI, 4 MONTADOR
Goalie: 1 ENROTH
Back-up Goalie: 40 LALIME

Washington – 3 POTI (upper body) IR, (upper body) IR, 52 GREEN (head) IR, 6 WIDEMAN (lower body) DTD

BUF – MILLER (upper body) DTD, ROY (leg) IR, KALETA (knee) IR, LEOPOLD (broken finger) DTD, GRIER (knee) DTD, HECHT (upper body) DTD

Caps Milestones:
Jason Arnott needs 1 goal to reach 400 in his career.
Jason Chimera needs 3 goals to reach 100 in his career.
Alex Ovechkin needs 2 goals to reach 300 in his career.


In tonight’s matchup the Capitals face the team they would be playing in the first round of the playoffs if the season ended today. However, the Sabres have not clinched a birth and are fighting hard to get there. Buffalo number one goalie Ryan Miller sat out the last game with an upper body injury and is listed as day to day. This will be a good test for the Capitals who have played two consecutive overtime games where they have given up a third period goal to force the extra period. Washington has had a rash of injuries on the blue line so look for rookies John Carlson and Karl Alzner to be given more ice time and responsibility. The duo has been good all year and need to take their game to the next level. The top two lines have been scoring for the Capitals but as we have been saying all year the power play needs to get its act together. As the playoffs draw near it is more important than ever. It should be a very close game but I expect the Capitals to come out on top with a big effort from their number one line.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 3 BUF 2

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