Friday, December 12, 2008

Pre-cap: Capitals vs. Les Habitants

I think we have a new best selling jersey at Verizon Center...okay all joking aside, what a wild night.

The team's web editor, Brett Leonhardt, suits up as a back up, then prospect Simeon Varlamov suits up as a back up, and then the Capitals pound the Senators to a 5-1 win.

The Caps haven't been very good in back-to-back games, especially when the latter is on the road. After the game Mike Green promised a winning effort, but did he just jinx us for a loss?

Time for a pre-cap.

Washington Capitals (17-10-3, last game 5-1 win over Ottawa)
Montreal Canadiens (16-7-5, last game 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay)

The story so far...
A red hot power play, a roster that is returning to normalcy, two Russians who love to score, a Swede and Russian with sick play-making skills and a back-up goalie that is hotter than hell. Oh I'm just talking about the Capitals. The Caps dominated the Sens but back-to-back games have not favored the rockin' red. On top of that, a rookie goalie may have to make his first career start in the biggest hockey city on the planet. Recipe for disaster or a blue-print for glory?

Key players
WSH: Viktor Kozlov
I'm feeling some Viktor Koz-love for tonight's game. The only Russian player left off the score sheet, Kozlov displayed some pretty sick moves, but wasn't able to convert them into goals. Montreal hasn't had a taste of the "S.O.B." line yet, and likely will put their top defensive corp on them. Talk about a window of oppurtunity, while Kozlov may be on a line with Michael "Circles" Nylander, the chance to sneak some goals in while the top Canadien blue-liners rest should be pretty high. In his career against Montreal, Kozlov has 13 goals and 12 assists.
MTL: Andrei Markov
I have a theory that when Ovie visits a team with a high-profile Russian, the game tends to get a bit crazy. So it should be no surprise that Markov might be called upon to check his comrades. Markov doesn't have particullarly stellar numbers when facing the Caps, only 11 assists in 26 games, but he is a blue line presence that will be looking to put the "S.O.B" line in it's place.

My reaction to the Leonhardt sweater
I must admit, seeing Leonhardt on the ice at first scared the holy hell out of me. I had no clue who he was or what had happened to Jose. I didn't check any of the blogs before I left for the game so it took me completely by surprise. When I learned what had happened I told my father and we laughed at the situation. I felt like at any moment Boudreau might point to a fan and say "lace em up kid!"

Kinda like this....

Movin' on up
The Capitals are now the fifth ranked power play in the league. The Canadiens are the 28th ranked power play. The Caps penalty kill moved to 23rd after last night's game while the Canadiens sit at 12th. The Capitals converted on three of seven power plays last night. While Capitals fans at Verizon Center raged over missed calls, the Senators ended up taking more penalties than the Capitals.

King Karl
The last time Karl Alzner was a negative on the score sheet? December 2nd against the Florida Panthers. The Alzner/Jurcina pairing was once again solid playing mistake-free defense. With Schultz and Erskine injured and not likely to return soon, Caps fans can get comfortable with Alzner on the blue line. So yes Billy Caps fan, you can go ahead and order that red Alzner sweater.

Getting to know you
On Frozen Blog sat down with the Capitals latest call-up this summer for a little discussion. Check out the two videos here and get to know Mr. Varlamov.

Part 1

Part 2

The face of victory
A great indicator of how well a team is playing is the face-offs won stat. The Capitals currently rank seventh winning 52% of their face-offs. The top ten teams leading in face-offs only consists of one team with a snowball's chance in hell of making the playoffs. The Tampa Bay Lightning.

Quite an entrance...
Former injured reserve dwellers, Sergei Fedorov, Mike Green, Alex Semin and Tom Poti earned a point in the 5-1 blasting of the Senators.

Matt Bradley scored his 100th career point against the Senators. He assisted Brooks Laich's second period, game-winning-goal.


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