Sunday, October 01, 2006

Gameday Preview (Final Preseason Edition)

This will have to be a quick one, because the puck is set to drop in a little over an hour. I unfortunately will not be there to witness the final preseason tilt, but as usual the Hurricanes will be blowing through here yet again next Saturday and I'll be there for my first look at the Champs.

So here it is - the FINAL preseason gameday preview!! Can you feel the excitement? The drama? The laughter and the tears? :)

Who: Your Nation's Capitals vs. Carolina Hurricanes
Where: Verizon Center
601 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004
When: Sunday, October 1, 2006, 1:00 pm

Media Notes:
...and that's about it - sorry, folks, apparently not that much media coverage of the final preseason game from either camp.
However, check out this article or this article about the 'Canes - both are kind of doom and gloom about the obstacles our pals to the South will face in repeating their championship season (and try not to laugh out loud while you read them)

Broadcast Information: Live365 radio feed available on Caps website

2005-2006 Season Series: Washington 3-3-1-1, Carolina 5-3-0-0

Last Game: 4/7 in Washington, Caps lost 4-3
- Every single tally by the Hurricanes was a special-teams goal, including 3 shorthanded goals (a Carolina franchise record). 2 of the shorties came in a span of 19 seconds in the second period.
- This game marked the final meeting in what had been a marathon stretch - the teams played each other five times in 14 days, culminating with three straight matchups.
- The Caps trailed the 'Canes 4-1 until the last three minutes, when Shaone Morrisonn scored his first goal of the season followed by Brian Willsie's 17th, but Carolina was able to hang on for the win.
- Ovechkin scored his 99th point, an assist on Jeff Halpern's power play goal in the first period.

Things to Watch For:
- I feel like a broken record, but the bubble boys really do have just one more chance to prove they deserve a Caps jersey this season. The Caps must have their roster down to 23 by Wednesday...of course, if any of the injured players (Pettinger, Zubrus and Bradley) should go on the 7-day injured reserve, that deadline is extended. So basically the saga continues...
- The Hurricanes have yet to record a win in this preseason, getting knocked off twice by the Predators and twice by the Blue Jackets. The defending champs allowed 20 goals in the two home-and-home series. Carolina may be looking to break out of the slump as we head down the home stretch into the regular season, so I'd expect them to come out swinging today. Or maybe they just stink this year...I'd be okay with that...
- Penalties, penalties, penalties - every single preseason game has been highly influenced by special teams. Hanlon needs to keep his troops out of the box if they have a fighting chance; they can't count on getting PP goals of their own should they give one up shorthanded. Carolina's penalty killing has been one of their few bright spots this preseason - the 'Canes have allowed only 2 power play goals so far for a PK rate of 92%.
- Both the Skins and the Nats play at home today, so the crowd will likely be anemic at best. Anyone who's going today - cheer really loud!

And there you have it - we are in the home stretch, the finish line is in plain sight, we're rounding third base...okay, I'm out of sports metaphors. Basically preseason is almost over and it's time to get pumped for the opening of the 2006-2007 Capitals season! Can I get a 'Hell Yeah'? An 'Amen'? A long, drawn-out sigh of general dread and nervousness?

4 days and we go!

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