Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Gameday Preview: Caps vs. Lightning

Who: Your Nation's Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Where: Verizon Center
601 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
When: Tuesday, December 19, 2006, 7:00 pm

Broadcast Info: CSN, SportsTalk 980; Sun Sports TV, WDAE 620 AM

Media Notes:
Washington Post
St. Petersburg Times

2006-2007 Season Series: Caps 1-1-0, Lightning 1-1-0

2006-2007 Standings: Caps 15-10-7, 27 points - 2nd in division, 6th in conference; Lightning 14-17-2, 30 points - 4th in division, 13th in conference

Last Game: November 28 in Tampa Bay, Caps won 5-2
- The Caps snapped their season high 6-game losing streak with a win in Tampa, putting an end to the Lightning's own winning streak of 3 games.
- Coming off a strong performance in a loss to the Islanders a few days earlier, the Caps were actually dominated for most of the game but would score 3 goals in the 2nd period to take the lead 4-0 and Tampa Bay would be unable to get back into it.
- Olie Kolzig stopped 48 of 50 shots in a dominant goaltending performance, essentially giving the Caps the confidence and support needed to win. TB Coach John Tortorella, not one known for gushing about goaltenders, called it "[o]ne of the best performances I've seen in a long time by a goaltender..."
- Tampa goalie Johan Holmqvist, who had previously won 8 of his last 9, was pulled in the second in favor of Marc Denis after giving up 3 goals on 13 shots. Denis didn't fare much better, allowing 1 goal on 7 shots before the Caps added an empty-netter in the last 2 minutes of the game.
- Alex Semin returned from a shoulder injury and ended the night with the game-winning goal and an assist. Ovechkin also added a goal and an assist, while Matt Pettinger had 2 assists
- This was probably a game the Caps didn't deserve to win - they registered only 5 shots in the first and 5 in the third, ending the evening with a grand total of 20 compared to Tampa's 50 shots...

Things to Look for:
- These two teams have seemingly changed places since their last meeting, as the Caps have gone 7-2-1 in their last 10 and have won 2 straight, while Tampa is 2-7-1 in their last 10 and have dropped 4 in a row. It would be nice if the Caps avoided another Freaky Friday moment and kept chugging right along while forcing Tampa Bay further into the Southeast cellar. It could happen.
- Tampa's goalie troubles continue - offseason acquisition Marc Denis has lost 10 of his last 11 starts after starting the season at 5-3-0, while Holmqvist has dropped 3 straight and allowed 11 goals during that stretch.
- The Lightning have struggled on specialty teams this year - they are ranked 21st on the power play and dead last on the penalty kill with just over 75% effectiveness.
- Another issue facing the Lightning is the inability to shut down teams in order to pull out the win - when leading after 2 periods, they are ranked 25th with a winning percentage of 75%.
- Both teams have had 2 days off since their last game, so rest is not a factor for either team. The Caps will need to jump on the Lightning early, though - they currently have the second most goals in the first 20 minutes, trailing only Toronto, while Tampa is ranked 28th and has allowed the 6th most in the first period. However, the Lightning are ranked in the top ten in scoring for the last two frames. Oddly enough, both teams are in the top 10 when it comes to goals allowed in the final two periods.

Possible Lineup for the Caps
8-Alex "the Greater" Ovechkin, 9-Dainius "Swing and a Miss" Zubrus, 17-Chris "Hannibal Lecter" Clark
28-Alex "Hot Hands, Slippery Feet" Semin, 24-Kris "Full Circle" Beech, 18-Matt "King" Pettinger
16-Brian "Soooo Close" Sutherby, 15-Boyd "Killer" Gordon, 27-Ben "Social" Clymer
87-Donald "the Bodyguard" Brashear, 21-Brooks "Gordie Howe" Laich, 38-Jakub "Back in the Saddle" Klepis

2-Brian "the Assistant" Pothier, 26-Shaone "Gotta Go to Mo" Morrisonn
47-Bryan "Scratched No" Muir, 44-Steve "...Erskine??" Eminger
6-Jamie "Scarface" Heward, 52-Mike "Babyface" Green

1-Brent "the Wanderer" Johnson, 37-Olie "the Well Rested" Kolzig

Possible Lineup for the Lightning
4-Vincent "Gamer" Lecavalier, 9-Eric "Lea &" Perrin, 26-Martin "Midget" St. Louis
19-Brad "It's a Glitch" Richards, 20-Vaclav "Live Long and" Prospal, 34-Ryan "CJ" Craig
29-Dmitry "Rinse Your Dishes" Afanasenkov, 27-Tim "the Tool Man" Taylor, 15-"La Femme" Nikita Alexeev
74-Nick "Short Shift" Tarnasky, 36-Andre "Lady Byng" Roy

22-Dan "Oh Danny" Boyle, 54-Paul "Mighty Morphin Power" Ranger
3-Doug "Blogger" Janik, 71-Filip Kuba
21-Cory Sarich, 44-Nolan "What a Bloody" Pratt
7-Luke "the Bench Warmer" Richardson

30-Marc "Swiss Cheese" Denis, 40-Johan "Five" Holmqvist


audrey said...

how many games have the caps played this season so far and how many of those have they lost?

also how do you think we're going to do against the flyers on the 9th?

CapsChick said...

The Caps have played 35 games this season and have lost 19, although 7 of them were overtime or shootout losses worth a point in the standings. Their record so far is 16-12-7.

I think the Caps will do very well in the game on the 9th for a couple of reasons:
1) The Flyers are really a shadow of the team they used to be and are still looking for their 10th win of the season after playing 35 games...actually, they're still looking for their 9th win.
2) The Caps have already won three against the Flyers for the first time in years and have earned the wins through solid play
3) Philly will be coming to DC at the end of an 8-game road trip, which is rough on even the strongest teams.