Thursday, December 07, 2006

Gameday Preview: Caps vs. Ducks

Who: Your Nation's Capitals vs. Anaheim Mighty Ducks
Where: Verizon Center
601 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
When: Friday, December 8, 2006, 7:00 pm

Broadcast Information: NC8, WTNT 570 AM; FSW, 830 AM

Media Notes:
WashingtonCaps.com
AnaheimDucks.com
NHL.com
Washington Post
Washington Times
LA Times

Orange County Register

Olie for President!
Olie clues in the rest of the league

Let's start the hype...
Ovie's shoulders get a rest

2005-06 Season Series: Caps 1-0-0, Ducks 0-0-1

2006-07 Standings: Caps 12-9-6, 30 points - 3rd in division, 10th in conference; Ducks 21-3-6, 48 points - 1st in division, 1st in conference, 1st in league

Last Game: January 13 in Anaheim, Caps won 3-2 in OT
- There's no way to describe this game without simply calling it the Alexander Ovechkin show. Ovie scored all three goals to earn his first career hat trick in dramatic style, capping off the hat and the win with an overtime marker.
- The win snapped a 6-game losing streak for the Caps and started a 4-game winning streak (hmm...sounds familiar). Up until this game, the Caps had won only 1 of their last 9 and 3 of their last 13. That's not to mention that this game was only the Caps' 5th win on the road to that point.
- The rest of the game was, as I recall, relatively uninteresting and in the grand scheme of things unimportant...but maybe that's because the next game would be against Phoenix, and we all remember what happened that night. It figures, the only guy who could overshadow Ovechkin would be...Ovechkin.
- Famous last words from Hanlon: "He keeps on doing stuff like this," Washington coach Glen Hanlon said. "Just when I thought I've seen it all, he does something else." My thoughts exactly.

- Both teams played disciplined, tight hockey for the majority of the game - all the scoring took place in the second period, as the two teams alternated goals, and the they combined for only 5 penalties total.
- Jeff Friesen returned to the Caps lineup against his former team and proceeded to do...absolutely nothing. Attaboy, Jeff.
- Odd factoid of the night: the Ducks had lost the last four times they played on Friday the 13th, dating to a 5-4 victory over the Capitals in December 1996 at Anaheim.

Things to Look for:
- I'm not going to lie, this game has me even more scared than the Buffalo game. For one thing, the Ducks are nice and rested for tonight's game, a change of pace from the last 4 games. For another, their defense is much stronger - stalwart veterans Pronger and Niedermayer head up a very young, feisty bunch of d-men. The Caps will have to keep up the offensive pressure that they've developed during this little win streak to crack that blue line.
- The Ducks have won 3 straight and are looking for, get this, their first 4-game win streak of the season. They've won 21 games and have yet to string together 4 in a row; at least we know they're human. Update: Apparently I made this up, not sure where I saw it...disregard and see the comments from a nice, helpful Ducks fan :)
- It looks like Hanlon may have struck upon a lineup that works for almost everyone, at least for now - the Semin-Beech-Pettinger line and the newly created Laich-Gordon-Bradley line have both chipped in some offense and given teams more to worry about than just the top trio. Speaking of which, I'd put money on seeing Ovie wearing a Pronger-cape all night long - I'm going out on a limb and saying there's your matchup to watch, folks.
- I'm not even going to try and compare the numbers for each team - let's just say that the Ducks are in the top 10 in every single category recorded by the NHL, and the majority of those rankings are top 4 or 5. That's not to say that the Caps are last in the league or anything, but they're average across the board; that's an improvement, but will it be enough to stop the Ducks? (Boy, no matter how you say their name it's just not scary, is it? Except to me, but I'm afraid of ducks...)
- What gives me a bit of confidence in the Caps ability to at least make a game of it is that every game in this little streak has been better than the one before, and they're starting to do the little things well - positioning themselves well (for the most part) defensively, crashing the opponents' nets, clearing the puck more efficiently and working the transition game. All the things that separate your mediocre teams from your good teams, your good teams from your great.
- A lot of the guys on both these teams will probably remember each other well- Hershey and Portland clashed in last year's Calder Cup playoffs, and both clubs have a large presence on their parent team rosters this season.
- Barra Brava in the Phone Booth! I don't even completely understand what that means except that they're supposed to be loud, and they, like, sing and stuff. I'm not much of a soccer fan. I'll be the judge of how loud they are based on what I can hear through the TV - that's right, as much as I love a good soccer hooligan, especially at a hockey game, I'll be watching from the safety of my couch. On a Friday night. Like the super-cool person I am. But let's face it, if I had a life what would you skim over while you should be working? Anyways, If any of you out there make it to the game, drop me a comment or an e-mail to let me know just how brava those barra were...er...or how barra those brava were?

I don't know, I took French in high school.

On with the...


Projected Lineup for the Caps
Forwards:
8-Alex "the Mad Hatter" Ovechkin, 9-Dainius "On the Mend" Zubrus, 17-Chris "Alex" Clark
28-Alex "Pop Fly" Semin, 24-Kris "Life's a" Beech, 18-Matt "Prince" Pettinger
87-Donald "the Rookie-Fighter" Brashear, 16-Brian "the Snakebitten" Sutherby, 27-Ben "Heart of Gold" Clymer
21-Brooks "We Like" Laich, 15-Boyd "the Underrated" Gordon, 10-Matt "Top Shelf" Bradley

Defensemen:
2-Brian "Point Shot" Pothier, 26-Shaone "the De-Gonchared" Morrisonn
4-John "Wanna Dance?" Erskine, 44-Steve "I Heart Erskine" Eminger
47-Bryan "Shy and D" Muir, 52-Mike "Sin Bin" Green

Goaltenders
1-Brent "Heeeeere's Johnny!" Johnson, 37-Olie "the Unsurprised" Kolzig

Projected Lineup for the Ducks
Forwards:
14-Chris "Rocky Ra" Kunitz, 19-Andy "Ronald" McDonald, 8-Teemu "the Finnish Brad Pitt" Selanne
17-Dustin "the Knick-Knacks" Penner, 22-Todd "the Merchant" Marchant, 38-Ryan "Cross the River" Shannon
32-Travis "Lawn" Moen, 26-Samuel "Screech" Pahlsson, 44-Rob "the Other" Niedermayer
16-George "Ten Shots Over" Parros, 15-Ryan "My Nickname Jokes Rarely" Getzlaf, 10-Corey "the Teen Idol" Perry

Defensemen:
21-Sean "Rosie" O’Donnell, 25-Chris "Two-" Pronger "Attack"
23-Francois "Tres Chic, Tres" Beauchemin, 27-Scott "Kickin' All-Star Booty" Niedermayer
33-Joe "to the Zoo to See" DiPenta, 37-Shane "Shane! Come Back!" O’Brien

Goaltenders:
1-Dunham, 39-DiPietro...um...nope. Sorry Vogel, those are the Isles goalies.
(Everyone's allowed a mistake now and then. Just don't let it happen again.)

Let's try that again -
Goaltenders:
31-Michael "Over the" Wall, 35-Jean-Sebastian "Does a Little Irish" Giguere

22 comments:

Earl Sleek said...

I went to the Ducks-Caps game last year (took my kid brother on his winter break from school). And, yeah, Ovechkin killed us.

But we did get to see (and hate) his first hat trick. And the "loser" point was nice.

These Ducks are probably due for a loss, but that's been true since day one.

Biff said...

I took Spanish in high school and I don't have any idea what it means either.

I too will be watching from the comfort of my own home tonight. But I only live about a mile from the Phone Booth, so it almost counts as going to the game.

FS said...

"Barra Brava" basically means "Strong and Brave", for the record.

And I believe the preferred nomenclature is Michael "Another Brick in the" Wall.

Victor said...

Ovie's first career hat trick was in a pre-season game against the Penguins. This should count as has first career HT, for two reasons:
1. It was against the Pens, and
2. I was there and I want to be able to brag I saw his first career HT.

(Call me selfish...)

CapsChick said...

Earl: Hopefully there will be more players than just Ovie to do some damage so you can spread the hatred around equally :) Having said that, I don't know that the Caps can pull this one off against your guys. Time will tell, right?

Biff: I think we probably live in the same neighborhood! I'm about a mile away, too - you have to love being just a short walk from a hockey game at all times, right?

FS: You going tonight? You'll have to tell us just how strong and brave...or loud and annoying... they are.

Victor: You're selfish. Just kidding :) That was a great game, I remember that - too bad it meant nothing...

great coo said...

Great preview, especially the nicknames.

As a Ducks fan in Boston, I will be listening to the game via nhl.com radio, but I plan to see the Caps when they make their way to TD Banknorth Garden later in the season.

Just a couple points of clarification:
1. The Ducks are not on a 3-game win streak. They beat Nashville on Wednesday, but they lost the game before that (to the Kings on Sunday).
2. The Ducks have been able to string more than three wins in the row this season. They won four in a row Oct. 18-25 (Det, Min, LA, Edm), and before losing the second game of a home-and-home series with the Kings on Sunday, they had won five in a row from Nov. 24-Dec. 2 (NJ, Cgy, Edm, Van, LA).

Sorry to nitpick. (And I didn't know this stuff off the top of my head--it's courtesy of espn.com.)

Looking forward to tonight's game!

CapsChick said...

Great Coo: Thanks for reading, and thanks for the corrections! Apparently I just make stuff up now, sorry about that.

I actually prefer the nitpicking (even if you had to use ESPN as a source...) - it helps keep me honest. I have to say, that no 4 game win streak thing did seem kind of fishy to me, so I appreciate you setting me straight.

A Ducks fan in Boston...now I've seen everything :)

Should be a good one!

FS said...

I'm there. I'm in the middle of a streak of going to 5 straight games (well, 5 straight home games).

VeryProudofYa said...

This should be a good'n, what with the caps being giant killers an everything.

My main concern is with the Ducks stampede to the box. Other than that, I'm fairly confident that the Ducks can handle them 5 on 5.


And oh yeah, what do you think the odds are of a Parros/Brashear tilt?

CapsChick said...

Well, given the fact that Parros has played in 10 games and already has 5 fights, I'd say the odds of him fighting someone are pretty good. Whether it's Brashear or not remains to be seen, but I'd actually pick Erskine as Parros' dancing partner tonight.

Both are young guys looking to make a name for themselves and both have dropped the gloves several times this season, including both on Wednesday...

Finny said...

I'm so excited for tonight's game. I'm worried about your boys, a four game win streak, the talent of Alex the Great, the psycho-crazy-goalie play of Kolzig? Yeahhhh, it's going to be awesome!

VeryProudofYa - I suspect they boys will turn in a very disciplined effort last night. Giving over too many chances can easily cost them a game agaisnt a team that's been this hot, and I don't expect them to play anything but some smart, good-old-hockey.

CapsChick - you point out the Bears v. Pirates kids on both teams... I think it'll be an interesting match up to see if any tempers flare up from that series. I don't know which of your players took part in it, but I know the Ducks had a significant part of their line-up in on it: Shannon, O'Brien (squee!), Penner, Perry, Getzlaf... Should be interesting, considering the Bears and Pirates still have some grudges between them last I checked... but not quite as bad as against the Providence Bruins!

Finny said...

VeryProudofYa - I suspect they boys will turn in a very disciplined effort last night.

Dammit, I meant TONIGHT! God, my brain is so scrambled from finals!!!

CapsChick said...

Finny: I totally didn't even notice you said 'last night' instead of tonight, so apparently my brains are as scrambled as yours. And I don't have finals to blame that on, either - that's all me!

I think the Caps had 4 or 5 players in Hershey last year for that series. As I recall, it was a bit heated towards the end, so we'll see what happens.

All in all I'm really excited too - if the Caps keep playing the way they have been it will at the very least be entertaining for fans of both sides. And really, what more could you ask for?

FS said...

Caps players in Hershey last year during that series:

Laich, Green, Beech, Klepis, Gordon, and Fleischmann, if he's up.

Finny said...

Doesn't look like you'll get a peek at Parros-Brashear fight or Parros-Erskine since we seemed to have recalled our Pirates Captain Shawn Thornton. I suspect he'll be in the line-up tonight in place of Parros to help with the Getzzy-Perry line (a little more speed, a bit more offense). So... we'll see.

Biff said...

Fifteen comments... jeez...

CapsChick- A mile in which direction? If we do, in fact, live in the same neighborhood, that would be weird.

Finny said...

oh I'm wrong! It IS still going to be brashear and parros...

Finny said...

HAHAHA whoa! your announcer has some crazy-deep voice! hahaha sorry, that just took me by surprise!

VeryProudofYa said...

I was lucky enough to miss the Parros fight. D:. I guess I'll live.


And also thank heavans that center ice picked up the Ducks broadcast. I'm quite aware that the Ducks guys aren't very good, but Joe Beninatti angries up the blood.

Ovechkin had a pretty good first period, in which he nearly killed the Other Niedermayer, and before that skated right around Frenchy Beauch.

Victor said...

Stinks to think that crappy little shorty was the game-winner.

Man oh Manischewitz, that was rough.

CapsChick said...

Blah...on to Philly, that's all I have to say.

I never thought I'd be looking forward to a Caps' visit to the city of brotherly love, but bring on those Flyers.

Dear god, that game seemed to be about 20 hours long.

CapsChick said...

Biff - Not sure if you'll check this out (22 comments, yikes) but I didn't get to answer your question! I live north of the arena, near the convention center...