Sunday, December 7, 2008

Pre-Cap: Capitals vs. Hurricanes

Talk about snakebit: While the Capitals may have walked away with a 2-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, Alex Ovechkin had about 3 chances that beat the goalie but just didn't go in.

With the win, the Capitals continue to pad their lead over division foe Carolina. Tonight's two points are about as big as they come, partially because a regulation win over the Canes would cement the Capitals in the driver's seat of the Southeast Division.

Washington Capitals (15-9-3, last game 2-1 win over Toronto)
Carolina Hurricanes (12-12-3, last game 2-1 overtime loss to Philadelphia)

The story so far...
A lackluster power play, new coach and star players who aren't shining. Oh we're not talking about the Jagr-era Caps, we are talking about the Carolina Hurricanes! The Canes have struggled this season but still manage to play second fiddle to the Caps in the Southeast. After two losses against the Capitals this season, game three should pack some fireworks of emotion.

Key Players
WSH: Whoever is called up to replace (x)
Yeah it's vague, but it's true. The Capitals injury woes aren't going away any time soon, and it will be up to the boys from Chocolate-town to carry their share. Some players may never get another opportunity to play (Sloan, Helmer, Collins) while others are providing the fans with a glimpse of the future (Bourque, Alzner). So far so good, and if the minor-leaguers can keep playing well it will give the starters more time to heal instead of rushing back from injury. Keep your eyes on any recent call-ups as they will be called on to do more than just fill a role.
CAR: Tuomo Ruutu
He's the Canes' leading goal scorer, not superstar Eric Staal, and he's also been one of their best players. He's a -2 this season against the Capitals and hasn't particularly been a thorn in their side either. With a new coach and the hopes of revitalizing the power play, Ruutu might pick up the workload if Eric Staal can't.

You always remember your first
Congrats to Karl Alzner (he's so hot right now) on his first NHL goal. Alzner had previously told media that his favorite team growing up was the Toronto Maple Leafs. What a thrill is must have been for Alzner, to score his first goal against the team he cheered for, in his home country and on Hockey Night in Canada! Here's to many more bombs from the blue line and solid defensive play. All hail King Karl.

We have nothing to Fehr but Fehr itself
OK, that wasn't the best title ever but the point is: now Fehr is hurt. Could this get any more ridiculous? If Fehr's injury is serious, the Capitals will likely have to call up yet another player. Fehr has three goals and four assists this season. Since we all love baseless speculation, I'd wager we might see Chris Bourque or Oskar Osala.

Alexander the Conquerer
If there is one team that Alex Semin isn't making any friends with, it's the Carolina Hurricanes. Alex Semin was the first star in both meetings with the Carolina Hurricanes so far this season. He has terrorized the Canes, netting a five-point game on the 12th and scoring 28 points in 21 games. The folks in Raleigh are probably breathing a sigh of relief that Semin is still out with an injury.

Speaking of Semin...
Here's the highlights from the Capitals "statement" game in November.

Goodbye Lavi
Earlier this week, the Carolina Hurricanes fired head coach Peter Laviolette. Laviolette was sent packing due to a poor power play and troubles winning, specifically at home. The Canes have a losing record at home at 6-8-1. The Canes also have the 29th-ranked power play and the 22nd-ranked penalty kill. What is most interesting about the firing is that at the time of his dismissal the Canes were only out of the division lead by 3 points. On top of that, had the season ended that day, the Canes would have been a playoff team.

Broken homes
The Capitals are one of two teams in the Southeast Division to have winning records at home. The only other team above .500 at home is the Florida Panthers at 6-4-2.



  1. It was hard to watch Eric Fehr on the bench. That looked like some serious pain.

    Kudos to Karl... they needed that. In spite of a solid effort by the Caps against Toronto, they just weren't getting the breaks to pull away from the Leafs.

  2. When they'll change their name to Washington Bears?

  3. Congrats to Alzner!

    The Caps have recalled Giroux to replace Fehr.

    I hope Boudreau's poaching of the Bears won't hinder their 10-game winning streak.


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