Friday, November 03, 2006

Gameday Preview: Caps vs. Thrashers

Who: Your Nation's Capitals vs. Atlanta Thrashers
Where: Verizon Center
601 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
When: Friday, November 3, 2006, 7:00 pm

Media Notes:
Game Notes in PDF
Washington Post
Washington Times
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Broadcast Information: Comcast Sportsnet, WTEM-980 AM; SportSouth

Last Game: October 19, 2006 in Atlanta; Caps lost 4-3 in SO
- From all accounts, the Caps outplayed the Thrashers for the majority of their last meeting. After falling behind 2-0 in the first they were able to score 3 goals in the second and held onto the lead until the last minute of regulation.
- Atlanta outshot the Caps 39-25 in regulation and 43-30 overall. Johnson was named the third star of the game for his performance despite the loss.
- The Caps killed off 6 of 7 power play chances by Atlanta, including a 2-man advantage lasting a little over a minute early in the third period
- Despite the offensive firepower on the bench, the Caps once again were blanked in the shootout.
- This game marked the second time Atlanta goalie Kari Lehtonen gave up three goals in one period over the course of a week; he also gave up a three spot to Carolina in a 4-3 loss on October 13.

Things to Watch For:
- Richard Zednik is known as a streaky scorer whose points come in bunches; his 2-goal performance Monday night could signal the start of an offensive outburst by the recently returned Capital.
- Hanlon shuffled the lines before the last game and seemed to get good results, so it wouldn't be surprising to see the same combos out there again tonight.
- Atlanta has lost two straight and four of their last five after a quick start to the season. The goaltending will be the biggest question heading into tonight's game - star netminder Lehtonen has given up 17 goals in his last 4 games and was pulled for the first time in the 5-2 loss to Carolina Wednesday night. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, backup Johann Hedberg will man the pipes tonight.
- The Caps have gotten stellar goaltending performances almost every game from their duo in net, and I would expect nothing less tonight. The one thing to watch for is the shot total - the Caps continue to allow 30+ shots every night and may not always be able to rely on goaltending alone.
- In the last three games, the Caps have allowed only 2 power play goals on 21 chances. The problem? 21 chances in 3 games...still not great. They were 4 for 4 on Monday night, so that's a good sign.
- Ovechkin had 2 assists against Calgary but neither Alex has scored in the last 140+ minutes - this after starting the season with 14 of the Caps' 31 goals overall. I'm not too concerned though...if there's one thing those two can do, it's score.
- Only 4 players on the Caps roster have yet to register a point, and all four have been scratched from the lineup at least twice.
- Dainius Zubrus leads the team in penalty minutes with 22 - that's a penalty a game, and yet he's still been one of the most consistent performers so far. Go figure.
- I haven't mentioned it yet because I was waiting for details, but it appears that Rrrrico Fata is no longer with us. *Sniff*. After clearing waivers, Fata chose to pursue opportunities in Europe rather than report to Hershey, and I wish him all the best.

Projected Lineup for the Caps
8-Ovechkin, 9-Zubrus, 17-Clark
28-Semin, 24-Beech, 18-Pettinger
21-Laich, 16-Sutherby, 10-Bradley
87-Brashear, 15-Gordon, 20-Zednik
2-Pothier, 26-Morrisonn
6-Heward, 27-Clymer
47-Muir, 52-Green
1-Johnson, 37-Kolzig
Projected Lineup for the Thrashers
17-Kovalchuk, 20-Rucchin, 14-Sim
13-Kozlov, 39-Kapanen, 18-Hossa
23-Slater, 16-Holik, 19-Mellanby
29-Larsen, 9-Metropolit, 11-Vigier
2-Exelby, 25-Sutton
3-Vishnevski, 7-de Vries
5-McCarthy, 34-Hnidy
1-Hedberg, 32-Lehtonen

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