Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Gameday Preview: Caps vs. Avs

Who: Your Nation’s Capitals vs. Colorado Avalanche
Where: Pepsi Center

1000 Chopper Circle
Denver, CO 80204
When: Wednesday, October 25, 2006 9:00 pm EDT

Media Notes:
PDF Media Notes
Washington Post
Washington Times
Denver Post

Daily Camera

Rocky Mountain News

2005-2006 Season Series: N/A

Last Game: 12/8/03 at Colorado, Caps lost 4-1
- 2 familiar faces met their former team for the first time as Avalanche players that night – Steve Konowalchuk had been traded to the Avs just two months earlier and Andrei Nikolishin had arrived in Colorado after a year in Chicago. Niko would put the cap on the Avs win with a goal at 2:03 in the third period, which would be followed by an empty-netter with less than a minute remaining in the game.
- The Avs victory marked the first time they had beaten the Caps since October 17, 2000 and the first win at home against the Caps since March 26, 1999.
- The loss brought the Caps record to an abysmal 8-18-1-1 and marked their third straight loss.

Things to watch for:
- I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Semin will score or at least have an assist. With a point in tonight’s game he will tie Daniel Briere’s season-high 8 game point streak for tops in the league, as well as Ovechkin’s previously set franchise record for point streaks to start a season.
- Having said that, the Caps need to continue spreading the offense around. Semin and Ovechkin have combined for 50% of the offensive output so far (although that’s still better than last season).
- As I’ve mentioned before, special teams are all over the place. Despite the loss on Saturday, the Caps killed off 6 of 7 penalties and capitalized on 2 of only 3 power play chances. A similar record tonight, albeit with a win at the end, would be ideal.
- After giving up 8 goals against his former team on Saturday, Theodore was benched against the Kings and will likely be backing up Peter Budaj tonight as well. Since being traded to Colorado last season, Theo has posted a less than stellar record of 3-5.
- Anyone who gets excited about facing a back-up goalie only has to look at the Caps’ history in the last year or two against backups to know that it’s not an automatic win. Furthermore, anyone who thinks backup goalies aren’t talented in their own right hasn’t been watching our own Brent Johnson in his first two starts. Look for Budaj to put up a good fight tonight.
- Matt Pettinger makes his triumphant return to the Caps in his regular season debut. They’ve been careful in bringing Petty back, obviously not wanting to injure him further. Let’s hope all the cobwebs are shaken out and he’s back to his old form again.
- Joe Sakic will be looking for his 1500th point to become only the 11th player in history to reach that plateau. As much as I love and respect Sakic, tonight should not be his night...
- Milan Hejduk's face now has more goals than Richard Zednik - in their last game against the Kings, Hejduk's second goal was a rebound off his face and into the net. Zed's play has been improving of late, and I hope the addition of Klepis to his line will fuel his offensive touch. If he has to sacrifice his pretty little mug to kick start it, so be it.
- Tonight’s game will again feature two former Caps in the lineup for the Avalanche: Ken Klee and Andrew “Speedracer” Brunette.

Projected Lineup for the Caps
8-Alex “Ovi-Wan” Ovechkin, 9-Dainius “Phone Buddy” Zubrus, 17-Chris “The Captain” Clark
28-Alex “2.0” Semin, 38-Jakub “Movin’ On Up” Klepis, 20-Richard “No More Zed Head” Zednik
22-Rico “SuavĂ©” Fata, 16-Brian “K.O.” Sutherby, 10-Matt “The Peacemaker” Bradley
87- Donald “Lamborghini Man” Brashear, 24- Kris “Life’s a” Beech, 18-Matt “Don’t Call Me Princess” Pettinger
2-Brian “The Capital Capital” Pothier, 26-Shaone “Rising Star” Morrisonn
27-Ben “The DC Diva” Clymer, 44-Steve “Jim” Eminger (No idea...)
6-Jamie “The Journeyman” Heward, 52-Mike “Babyface” Green
1-Brent “Heeeere’s Johnny!” Johnson, 37-Olie “The Other Captain” Kolzig

Projected Lineup for the Avalanche
15- Brunette, 19-Sakic, 40-Svatos
8-Wolski, 26-Stastny, 23-Hejduk
53-McLean, 39-Arnason, 14-Laperriere
24-Laaksonen, 12-Richardson, 20-Rycroft
3-Skrastins, 5-Clark
2-Klee, 4-Liles
27-Vaananen, 71-Brisebois
31-Budaj, 60-Theodore

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