Friday, October 31, 2008

Pre-Cap: Capitals vs Sabres

"Leave the Sabres to me..."

All joking (and promoting an Internet meme) aside, it's time for November's first pre-Cap! Let's hope it goes better than October's first game...

Washington Capitals (5-3-1, Last game OTW 4-3 over Nashville)
Buffalo Sabres (6-2-2, Last game L 5-2 to Tampa Bay)

The story so far...
Alexander the II leads the NHL in points, so what is his first order of business as king (at least for today)? Dissing Crosby. With a tough opponent in the Buffalo Sabres, here's a great place to "walk the walk" after "talking the talk."

Key players
WSH: Alex Semin, Jose Theodore, Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom
BUF: Thomas Vanek, Maxime Afinogenov, Ales Kotalik, Ryan Miller

Great, another hot goalie...
Sabres goalie Ryan Miller is currently 5-1-1 this season. He has a GAA of 2.02 and .928 save percentage. The team is on a bit of a losing streak right now, earning only 1 point in their last three games, but that's no reason to slouch off against Miller.

Special kind of night
What might be the biggest challenge, other than missing Alex Ovechkin, will be figuring out the Sabres' 8th-ranked power play and 3rd-ranked penalty kill. With the return of Tom Poti, the Caps will likely see a boost in 5-on-5 hockey, but what they really need is to start burying goals consistently on the power play. The Capitals rank 17th on the power play and 20th on the penalty kill. Yet they are just as productive as the Sabres are on offense (32 goals for WSH vs. 31 goals for BUF)

Jockeying for position
Tonight the Capitals can reclaim the #1 slot in the Southeast Division with a Carolina loss earlier in the day. The Capitals need to make good on opportunities to distance themselves from their biggest divisonal foe, and the two teams will meet next week on Thursday.

The number of players left on the Capitals that played in their Eastern Conference Finals matchup against the Sabres in 98.

Kinda wish that OTHER Russian was here
Alex Ovechkin has 14 points in 12 games against the Sabres. Too bad he couldn't come back in time to play. Now who will the Sabres fans boo for a hit on a player that left them for more money? Relive the Briere-Ovechkin saga below.

An enforcer on the ice and off it too.
They always say "leave it on the ice," but Sabres enforcer Adam Mair seems to have missed that memo.

Buffalo's claim to fame
Read all about the history of the Buffalo Wing here. Spoiler: It's butter and hot sauce.


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