Friday, December 22, 2006

Gameday Preview: Caps vs. Devils

Who: Your Nation's Capitals vs. New Jersey Devils
Where: Verizon Center
601 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
When: Friday, December 22, 2006, 7:00 pm (Happy Birthday, Sarah Bear!)

Broadcast Info: CSN, WTNT 570 AM; FSN NY2, WFAN 660 AM

Media Notes:
Washington Post
Washington Times
Newark Star-Ledger

Check out a rough cut of Ovie's commercial on Ted's Blog - pretty funny!

2006-07 Standings: Caps 15-11-7, 37 points - 3rd in division, 8th in conference; Devils 18-12-3, 39 points - 2nd in division, 5th in conference

2005-06 Season Series: Caps 1-2-1, Devils 4-0-0

Last Game: March 10 in Washington, Caps lost 4-3 in SO
- The Caps jumped out to an early 2-goal lead in the first period before giving up 2 goals of their own to end a crazy opening frame.
- After a scoreless second period, the Devils took the lead when Scott Gomez scored less than 3 minutes into the third. The Caps would mount a thrilling last minute comeback, though, tying the game in the last minute. The goal would come on the power play after Jay Pandolfo took a delay of game penalty at 18:48.
- Jeff Halpern had 2 assists on the night, including his 200th NHL point.
- The shootout went five rounds, with Willsie and Laich earning the shootout goals for the Caps and Sergei Brylin scoring the game-winning "goal".
- This was a relatively low-penalty game, with the Caps taking only 4 penalties and the Devils going shorthanded 5 times. Pandolfo's Delay of Game penalty was the third such penalty taken by the Devils in the game, with Colin White taking 2 in the second period alone.
- 2 penalties were called in the overtime period - one on Eminger about halfway through and one on Brylin in the last minute of overtime. Obviously, neither of the teams were able to capitalize.

Things to Look for:
- The Devils come into tonight's game having lost 4 of 5, including a shootout loss to the Thrashers Tuesday night. In the loss, Marian Hossa scored 2 shorthanded goals including the game-tying goal to force the extra frame. New Jersey has now allowed 8 shorthanded goals, which is tied with Ottawa and Philly for the most in the league.
- The Caps are experiencing another rash of minor injuries among their key players - John Erskine is still bruised from blocking a shot with his foot, and Matt Bradley and Richard Zednik are recovering from surgery. Clark, Brashear and Muir are also banged up, although at least Clark and Brashear are likely to play against the Devils. Giroux will likely get a second call-up, while Schultz is expected to make his NHL debut on the Caps blueline.
- Martin Brodeur has 6 career shutouts against the Caps and has recorded 4 this season, tied for second best in the league.
- The power play for the Caps and the Devils has been successful of late, as the Caps scored 2 with the extra man Tuesday night and the Devils have scored on 5 of their last 10 power play opportunities.
- The Caps will probably not be able to rely on special teams scoring against this Devils squad - New Jersey is ranked 7th on the power play and 4th on the penalty kill.
- This game features another historical disadvantage for the Caps, as they have only beaten Brodeur and the Devils once in 11 tries; their last win came almost 4 years ago. However, this has been a season of history-changing games - long standing records have fallen by the wayside for this Caps team, so we shouldn't read too much into history.
- The Devils play a neutral zone trap with emphasis on their defense shutting down the other team. Translation? Snooze-fest. The Caps need to jump out early on the Devils and force New Jersey to play the Caps' style of game if they don't want to be lulled into a coma...
- Tonight is "Mirrored Shades for Marty" night! If you're coming to the game, be sure to bring your mirrored or dark sunglasses and hang out behind the Devils' side during warmups. The first 150 or so fans who go to section 104/105 will get a free pair of sunglasses courtesy of Goat/FlyersSuck (and other contributors)! (See message boards or BettmanHatesHockey for more details)

It's round 2 of my steel cage deathmatch with a vicious head cold and I continue to ply myself with cold medicines so I can breathe and stuff. As a result, I have no brain with which to decipher shift charts let alone formulate clever and witty nicknames for the handful of you that read this.

But fear not - the Caps travel to Toronto to face the loathsome Maple Leafs Saturday night. Neither sleet nor snow nor stuffy head can keep me from creating nicknames for that happy bunch (lest we forget my personal favorite, Darcy "Mother" Tucker...).

And since this is quickly disintegrating into nonsense babbling, I'll sign off for now.

Let's Go Caps!


Netsrak said...

The Hockey News is a good place to ferret out basic line combinations. Each issue has an "NHL Depth Chart" page with lines listed for all 30 teams.

Given, the lines may not be exactly what a team is using by the time the magazine arrives in your mailbox. (Heck, all the news in the mag is a week late, which is why I'm going back and forth on whether or not to renew my subscription!) But it's a good place to start, anyway.

Get well soon!

Victor said...

The head cold will make it easy to pick you out as we stand around the Devil's tunnel. However, I may not be able to see you, as I'll have to take off my glasses to put on my shades: I'll be the guy falling down the stairs because he can't see.

Sarah Bear said...


CapsChick said...

Netsrak: I actually have a digital subscription to THN, but I just wasn't in the mood to pore over the depth charts, either. Call me lazy :)

Victor: okay, so you'll be the guy falling down the stairs and I'll be the one with the red Rudolphesque, I know.