Saturday, November 11, 2006

Gameday Preview: Caps vs. Rangers

Who: Your Nation's Capitals vs. New York Rangers
Where: Verizon Center
601 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
When: Saturday, November 11, 2006, 7:00 pm

Broadcast Info: Comcast SportsNet, WTEM-980 AM; MSG2

Media Notes:
Washington Post Shows a Little Zubie/Ovie Love
New York Post
MSG Network

An Interesting Look at Backup Goalies

- Not related to this game, but Olie and Ovie will be representing the Caps in the balloting for this year's All-Star I've mentioned before (and will likely mention again) voting starts November 15th on

Vote early, vote often!

2006-2007 Season Series: Caps 0-1-0, Rangers 1-0-0
2006-2007 Standings: Caps 6-5-4, 16 points - 4th in Southeast, 11th in conference
Rangers 8-6-1, 17 points - 2nd in Atlantic, 7th in conference

Last Game: October 5th in New York, Caps lost 5-2
- The season opener for both teams featured a goal by former Cap and new Rangers' captain Jaromir Jagr just 30 seconds into the game
- Brendan Shanahan would notch his 599th and 600th goals late in the second period and early in the third period, respectively. Said Jagr in an uncharacteristic display of team sentiment, "He's over there. Go talk to him. It's his night."
- Semin scored his first goal of the season to bring the Caps even for the only time all night, kicking off an 8-game scoring streak.
- The Caps' power play sputtered, connecting on exactly 0 of their 8 chances with the extra man. On the plus side, they took only 3 minor penalties all night and kept the Rangers off the board 5-on-4.
- This was the first time since 1985 that the Rangers had won a home season opener...also against the Caps.

Things to Look For:
- The Rangers are hot of late, winning 7 of their last 9 games and two straight (incidentally, both were against Southeast Division rivals, so...I guess...thanks?)
- So far this season the Caps have been good at bouncing back from losses and have yet to lose back-to-back games in regulation. They've also only lost 2 really bad games in my mind - opening night in New York, which they followed up with a thrashing of the Hurricanes 2 nights later, and Thursday night against, well, the Hurricanes. Maybe it'll work the other way this time.
- Not surprisingly, the Rangers' offense has been highly effective this far, averaging 3.40 goals per game. They do allow a lot of goals, though, with 3.60 goals per game on average for 27th in the NHL.
- The Caps have to take the anger at their last loss two days ago and combine it with revenge for the first loss October 5th to get the level of passion needed to beat a very tough Rangers team.
- New York will be playing in the second of back-to-back games and won't arrive in DC until probably right about now, so energy may be a factor and the Caps will have to take advantage of their extra day of rest. Having said that, the Rangers are coming in off a huge win over another streaking team in Atlanta, so their momentum has to be nipped in the bud quickly. Translation: no Rangers goals within the first 30 seconds this time. Actually, I'd be happy with no Rangers goals at all, but that may be reaching...
- Johnny took a beating on Thursday night and although the loss was hardly his fault, I'd expect to see Olie back in net. If we know Olie at all, he'll be looking to redeem himself after being pulled against Ottawa.
- Lundqvist played in Atlanta last night, so the Caps should expect to see backup Kevin Weekes in net at the Phone Booth. Weekes' numbers are less than sparkling, with a 3.74 GAA and save percentage down around 87%. He did play well enough to earn a 2-0-1 record in three straight starts while starter Lundqvist experienced a bit of sophomore slump.

Projected Lineup for the Caps (UPDATED per Today's PreCap)
8-Alex "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" Ovechkin, 9-Dainius "We Belong" Zubrus, 17-Chris "Jekyll and Hyde" Clark
28-Alex "2.0" Semin, 38-Jakub "Movin' On Up?" Klepis, 18-Matt "Okay, Call Me Princess" Pettinger
10-Matt "The Glue" Bradley, 16-Brian "The Guts" Sutherby, 27-Ben "The Glory" Clymer
43-Tomas "Melting Butter" Fleischmann, 15-Boyd "Flash" Gordon, 87-Donald "Piano Man" Brashear

2-Brian "Stuck at 9" Pothier, 26-Shaone "Shortcut" Morrisonn
4-John "The Callup" Erskine, 44-Steve "Jim" Eminger
47-Bryan "Don't Come Around Here No" Muir, 52-Mike "Sin Bin" Green

1-Brent "Ready, Aim, Fire" Johnson, 37-Olie "The Other Captain" Kolzig

Projected Lineup for the Rangers (aka the Evil Empire)
82-Martin "Squeaky Voice" Straka, 92-Michael "Traitor" Nylander, 68-Jaromir "Darth Vader" Jagr**
14-Brendan "Too Good for DC" Shanahan, 5-Matt "Too Good for SC" Cullen, 25-Petr "Too Good for an 'E'" Prucha
44-Ryan Hollweg, 19-Blair "Jo, Natalie and Tootie" Betts, 18-Adam "Anthony Michael" Hall
81-Marcel "the Younger" Hossa, 16-Jason Ward, 28-Colton "Not as Good as Bobby" Orr

3-Michal Roszival, 8-Marek "Sharpshooter" Malik
4-Aaron Ward, 51-Fedor "Rootin'"Tyutin
23-Karel Rachunek, 24-Sandis Ozolinsh

30-Henrik "Pretty Boy" Lundqvist, 80-Kevin Weekes

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