Friday, November 24, 2006

Gameday Preview: Caps vs. Islanders

Who: Your Nation’s Capitals vs. New York Islanders
Where: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum

1255 Hempstead Turnpike
Uniondale, NY 11553
When: Saturday, November 25, 2006, 7:00 pm

Broadcast Info: CW, WTNT-570 AM; FSNNY

Media Notes:

As both teams are coming off a game last night, a lot of what is in the mainstream media is going to be about those games (incidentally the Isles beat the Crosby-less Penguins have to love that.) I've decided to let you all seek them out yourselves this time if your interested.

2005-06 Season Series: Caps 1-3-0, Islanders 3-1-0

2006-07 Standings: Caps 8-7-6, 22 points – 4th in division, 12th in conference; Isles 10-7-3, 23 points – 3rd in division, 8th in conference

Last Game: April 8 in New York, Caps lost 5-0
- Nothing seemed to go right for the Caps in this lopsided shutout to the Isles, their first of the season. They managed only 20 shots on DiPietro and were given only 2 chances with the extra man, both of which they failed on.
- The Isles, on the other hand, snapped their season-high 6 game losing streak in high-powered fashion, firing 45 shots on Johnson (poor Johnny…).
- Penalty killing and penalties in general proved to be a huge issue for the Caps – they went shorthanded 8 times and gave up 4 power play goals
- The Caps were unable to shut down the trio of Alexei Yashin, Jason Blake and Robert Nilsson – the three combined for 11 points and were a factor on 4 of the 5 Islanders tallies.
- The shutout was the Islanders first one in the regular season since blanking the Caps back in March of 2004. Glad we could be of service.
- Ovechkin was held without a goal for a season-high sixth straight game, keeping him at 48 goals and 51 assists for 99 points. It also ended his 11-game point scoring streak.
- The Islanders won the season series for the first time since the 1996-97 season; during that time, the Caps were 24-3-3 against the Islanders.

Things to Look for:
- The Islanders are 5-1-1 in their last 7, while the Caps have dropped 5 straight – a slow start by the Isles and a quick start by the Caps have left the two teams separated by only one point in the overall conference standings.
- So far this season the Caps have played back-to-back games 4 times – their record in the second of back-to-back games is 1-1-2, but only once has the loss been a result of poor play. In the first of back-to-back games, however, they have only won once and they have usually been the worse of the two. Coincidence, sure, but something to think about as the Caps try to bounce back from last night’s horrific loss.
- During the Caps current losing streak, offensive output has been a big problem – through five games they’ve only scored 8 goals. That’s a big change from the production early on in the season. Semin should be back in the lineup tonight, though, so hopefully that will add a little punch to the goal-scoring.
- Sutherby returns to the team after serving out his very first NHL suspension, which should mean the reunion of the CBS line. They’ll need the grit to counteract both the offense of a re-energized Yashin and the muscle of former Caps like Chris Simon and Brendan Witt.
- Power play effectiveness is almost the same between the two teams, with the Islanders ranked 14th and the Caps ranked 15th. On the penalty kill, however, the Islanders are ranked 27th at just under 80%, while the Caps are 18th at 82.8% - I’m not sure if that includes the Caps’ performance last night, when they killed off only 2 of 5 shorthanded chances...

On that note, I'm tired and am battling some kind of cold, which wasn't helped by going to last night's dismal game - check out the message boards or any of my fellow Caps' bloggers to the right for more in-depth gameday previews, including media links and projected lineups.

Not to worry, I'll be back in full gameday preview crazy form for Tuesday's tilt in Tampa!

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