Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pre-Cap: Capitals vs. Hurricanes

And you thought ice girls were bad!

The Capitals play host to the Carolina Hurricanes, and because D.C. was not part of the South, Southern hospitality does not apply.

Washington Capitals (5-4-2, Last game 2-1 OT loss to Ottawa)
Carolina Hurricanes (7-3-2, Last game 5-4 OT win over Toronto)

The story so far...
Another 2-1 loss. When will the Capitals learn to win games when the goalies are hot? Johnson looks to keep himself between the pipes, and his play will likely be the story to follow tonight.

Key Players:
WSH: Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin, Brent Johnson
CAR: Eric Staal, Rod Brindamour, Cam Ward

Dueling net-minders
Cam Ward has quite the success rate against the Caps. He is 10-4-0-1 with a 2.52 GAA. On the road, Cam Ward is 3-0-2, meaning he is yet to lose in regulation. Yup, not stating that fact in an attempt to jinx him, yet to lose in regulation...
Johnny on the other hand is a meager 4-5-0-1, with a 2.94 GAA. Right now he is the only Caps goalie with a save percentage above .900. At age 31, it's not impossible that Johnson could steal the spotlight from Jose Theodore, but that controversy is at least 5 wins away from getting serious.

Terrorizing players
Keep your eyes on Carolina's aging center Rod Brindamour. He has 78 points in 91 games against the Caps, numbers that are somewhat lower because he missed most of last season due to injury. Ovechkin is a terrorist to the Canes: He averages well over a point per game when playing the Canes. In 24 games, he has 17 goals and 12 assists.

It's kind of a rivalry, I guess...
Well it's a forced rivalry. Partly because for awhile the Capitals and Canes were the only two competitive teams in the Southeast. But with last season's dramatic playoff run, we might see some more fireworks between these two clubs. Keep in mind the Canes missed the playoffs by one point.

Reality check time
Want proof the Capitals are not playing to their potential? Well, if the season ended today, they'd miss the playoffs. OK, it's a bit early to make that point, but here's an alarming one. The Caps are tied in points with the Tampa Bay Lightning...ugh.

Sometimes the goalie has to be the enforcer
Everyone loves fights, but how much do you love it when goalies fight? Cam Ward isn't afraid to drop the gloves. Here's some video. Did I mention these guys are teammates now? Leighton is Ward's backup.

"Swirl of wind and...whatever!"
Great interview with Eric Staal. Sounds like he missed science class a bit.

Staal in the family
As of now, there are three Staals in the NHL. A fourth is on the way. Must be hell as a parent: Which one do you love the most? Whose game do you go to? How did you react when your son came out of the closet as a Pittsburgh Penguin? Here's a new NHL ad featuring Momma Staal and Poppa Staal.

Let's Go Caps!

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