Saturday, December 09, 2006

Gameday Preview: Caps vs. Flyers

Who: Your Nation's Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Where: Wachovia Center
3601 S. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19148
When: Saturday, December 9, 2006, 7:00 pm

Broadcast Information: The CW, WTNT 570 AM; CSN, WPHT

Media Notes:
Washington Post
Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Daily News

2006-07 Standings: Caps 12-10-6, 30 points - 3rd in division, 11th in conference; Flyers 8-15-4, 20 points - 5th in division, 15th in conference

2006-07 Season Series: Caps 1-0-0, Flyers 0-1-0

Last Game: November 5 in Philadelphia, Caps won 5-3
- The Caps got off to a quick start in the first period, scoring 4 goals in the opening frame and chasing goalie Robert Esche on their way to a 5-3 win over former archrivals the Flyers.
- Ben Clymer's return to the CBS line proved to be successful, at least for a night, as he scored his first two goals of the season. Alex Ovechkin also added two goals, including the game winner with less than a minute remaining in the first period.
- After a scoreless second period and a 5th goal 30 seconds into the third period, the Caps eased up a little and were suddenly facing a Flyers' rally late in the third. Philadelphia cut the lead to three off of Geoff Sanderson's 3rd goal of the season, then made it interesting with just under 5 minutes left in the game by pulling within 2.
- Brent Johnson earned his first win of the season, stopping 33 shots and experiencing that odd feeling of having a big lead to work with...
- The Flyers, who up until this point had converted on just six of their 74 chances with the extra man, added one more and finished the night 1 for 6 on the power play. The Caps were given 5 opportunities and were unable to connect.
- The Caps fired only 19 shots on goal compared to the Flyers 36 and were outshot in every period - during the last period, the Flyers outshot the Caps 12-4.
- I'm sure you all remember that this game had implications beyond the two points, marking the first time the Caps had won in Philly since January of 1998 - that's 16 games for those of you keeping count at home.

Things to Look for:
- How many times have I said that the Caps need to bounce back from a disappointing loss with a good win? I'm starting to lose count, but it qualifies yet again tonight. After being outplayed in a lopsided 6-1 loss to the high-flying Ducks, the Caps travel to Philly hoping for redemption against a still struggling Flyers team.
- Just like it's important to not be intimidated by the records of the top teams (Buffalo, Anaheim, etc) it's also important not to overlook Philadelphia despite their 8 wins. Gee, how many times have we heard that said by other teams about the Caps? Still, this is not a Philly team that will just roll over, and they actually managed to beat Anaheim so they can bring it...sometimes. The Caps have to be ready.
- Philly will be without their captain, Peter Forsberg, as he continues his search for that perfect little pair of shoes. No, seriously.
- It'll be interesting to see what Hanlon does with the lineup tonight - during the Anaheim game lines were starting to be shuffled in an effort to generate offense, but I'd like to see the original line combos that started last night's game remain intact. It's too early to panic and start changing the game plan because of one loss.
- Both teams played their starters last night, so I'd bet we'll see Brent Johnson and Robert Esche in goal least to start. :) [Update - "Swiss Cheese" Esche just had surgery, so I'm guessing odds are good he won't be in there after all...looks like Antero gets his first full-length shot at our Caps tonight. Make me proud, boys!]
- The Flyers are also coming off a loss, having been shutout 2-0 in New Jersey last night. Basically you've got two tired, pissed-off teams going at it - either we're going to see a very physical, fight-filled game or this could be a snoozer. My prediction? Bring some popcorn, I think this could be an entertaining game.

Possible Lineup for the Caps
8-Alex "is Sick" Ovechkin, 9-Dainius "PIM Boy" Zubrus, 17-Chris "the Cage-y Veteran" Clark
28-Alex "Pop Fly" Semin, 24-Kris "Life's a" Beech, 18-Matt "King" Pettinger
87-Donald "Piano Man" Brashear, 16-Brian "Dry Spell" Sutherby, 27-Ben "Nosebleed" Clymer
21-Brooks "What's Not to" Laich, 15-Boyd "the Secret Weapon" Gordon, 10-Matt "Top Shelf" Bradley

2-Brian "Potsy" Pothier, 26-Shaone "Ralph Malph" Morrisonn
4-John "One-Punch" Erskine, 44-Steve "I Heart Erskine" Eminger
47-Bryan "Please God, No" Muir, 52-Mike "Babyface" Green

1-Brent "Ready Aim Fire" Johnson, 37-Olie "Hot Hands" Kolzig

Possible Lineup for the Flyers
[Updated per Vogel]

12-Simon Gagne, 93-Peter Nedved, 22-Mike Knuble
8-Geoff Sanderson, 27-Randy Robitaille, 20-RJ Umberger
29-Todd Fedoruk, 18-Mike Richards, 24-Sami Kapanen
55-Ben Eager, 11-Ryan Potulny, 19-Kyle Calder

Philadelphia Defensemen
44-Joni Pitkanen, 46-Kimo Timonen
2-Derian Hatcher, 34-Frederick Meyer IV (seriously?)
6-Randy Jones, 45-Alexandre Picard

30-Antero Niittymaki, 35-Matt Houle


FS said...

Dang, someone got that up quick.
Is someone trying to get the Ducks game behind them?

Netsrak said...

Your projected Brent Johnson vs. Robert Esche matchup is not likely to happen, since Esche recently had surgery on his groin. *giggle*

Martin Houle, who has never played in an NHL game, is currently Niittymaki's backup. I wouldn't be surprised to see Niittymaki get the start again tonight... He only faced 24 shots last night against the Devils.

CapsChick said...

Ducks game? I remember no Ducks game...wait, did the Caps even play last night?

I just saw the Esche injury thing on Vogel and the gameday thread. It's too bad, really - I was kind of hoping to see good ol' "Swiss Cheese" Esche tonight. I guess I'll settle for chasing Niitymaki in favor of an NHL newbie.

Go Caps!

longtimehockeyfan said...

Great nicknames, as always!

I hope Caps win big tonight so they can forget about last night. Hope Erskine and Brashear are ready!