I have decided to ignore Thursday's fiasco and focus instead on tonight, the season opener that really counts - the one at home. I'll be there with what I hope is a raucous crowd of Capitals faithful.
Opening night is always exciting, between the pomp and circumstance of whatever ceremony they decide to put on and the high expectations of the home team crowd. I'm hoping that the enthusiasm of the fans, along with some minor tweaks by Hanlon and the gang, will help to lift the good guys to victory.
Who: Your Nation's Capitals vs. Carolina Hurricanes
Where: Verizon Center
601 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
When: Saturday, October 7, 2006, 7:00 pm
Raleigh News & Observer
Broadcast Information: Comcast Sportsnet, Fox Sports Net South (NC), WTEM-980, WWMY-102.9 (NC), NHL Radio
Things to Watch For:
- The Caps maintained their discipline in their season opener Thursday night, getting whistled for only 3 penalties and killing all of them off. A lone highlight from that game, it would be nice to see that same discipline here tonight. There's may be a little heat between the Caps and the Canes since the end of last season, but the guys need to keep their emotions in check. As I've mentioned, the Hurricanes have had excellent penalty-killing, so they can't expect many opportunities of their own.
- Of course having said that the Canes' best penalty killer, Mr. Conn Smythe himself Cam Ward will likely be riding the bench in this second game of back to back games. As a result, John Grahame is probably making his regular season Carolina Hurricanes debut...let's give him a real nice welcome.
- Carolina is playing their third game in four nights, including last night's shutout loss to the Devils. The Caps have had a day off in between games and will have the home crowd behind them tonight. Energy will be a factor - let's hope the Caps can funnel the adrenaline on to the ice and keep the crowd in it all night.
- Lines are completely up in the air, with the exception being the reunion of Ovie, Zubie and Clark. Look for Clark to open up the ice a little more for the other two, and maybe we'll see Ovie get his first goal of the season. No word yet on whether the Caps will dress 7 defensemen or not, although it looks like Carolina will be continuing that practice.
My Prediction: Caps win, 3-2. Ovie will have a goal and an assist, Clymer will have a goal, and Beech will have an assist.
Fun Fact (per Mike Vogel): Friday night’s game against New Jersey marked the 300th career game for Carolina’s Peter Laviolette as a head coach...too bad they got shutout. :)
Here are your probable lineups for tonight's game:
8-Ovechkin, 9-Zubrus, 17-Clark
28-Semin, 24-Beech, 22-Fata
87-Brashear, 16-Sutherby, 20-Zednik
38-Klepis + 2 to be named at gametime
lines are likely not final depending on who gets called up from Hershey
26-Cole, 12-Staal, 13-Whitney
16-Ladd, 17-Brind’Amour, 11-Williams
19-Letowski, 25-Belanger, 24-Walker
14-K.Adams, 27-C. Adams
I'm kind of phoning this one in because I'm heading over to have dinner and check out fanfest, but if you want to see a real gameday preview I refer you once again to the message boards...