Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Gameday Preview: Caps vs. Sabres

Who: Your Nation's Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres
Where: HSBC Arena
One Seymour H. Knox III Plaza
Buffalo, New York 14203-3096
When: Tuesday, December 26, 2006, 7:00 pm

Broadcast Info: CSN, WTNT 570 AM; MSG, WGR AM 550

Media Notes:
Sabres.com (I don't know if we're just spoiled with the Caps website or what, but the Sabres' site is really awful...)
Washington Post
Washington Times
Buffalo News
Buffalo News (give me a break...)

I was going to highlight some Buffalo blogger previews of tomorrow night's game, but it looks like they're all taking an extended break for the holiday. I do love to fuel that hype, so check back for updates as the day continues...

If I in any way implied anyone was a bad parent, I apologize...everyone unclench and enjoy the game!

2006-07 Standings: Caps 16-12-7, 39 points - 3rd in division, 8th in conference; Sabres 25-7-3, 53 points - 1st in division, 1st in conference

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

Last Game: December 2, 2006 in Washington, Caps won 7-4
- I'm not sure what was the most surprising thing about this game. That Ovechkin got ejected? That the Caps held a lead and beat the best team in the East? That Steve Eminger got a fighting major? That the Caps extended their winning streak to 3?
- The Caps jumped out to a quick lead, going into the locker room after the first period with a 4-1 advantage after goals from Zednik, Muir, Ovechkin and Clymer. The first three strikes came early, chasing Ryan Miller before the period was ten minutes old in favor of Martin Biron.
- There was a little incident involving Ovechkin and Briere early in the second period. No big deal, you may have read something about it.
- Even when you set aside the crazy penalty minutes doled out for assorted goodies, the Caps still racked up 7 opportunities with the extra man and connected on exactly none of them. Buffalo was given 6 power plays and scored one goal.
- In a night where penalties and goals were flying all over the place, it's odd to think that Ovechkin was given two major penalties, including one for fighting, and a game misconduct...and John Erskine scored a goal. Huh.

Things to Look for:
- Despite being banged up in their last game before the holiday break, the Caps managed to pull off a pretty convincing win against Toronto. Still, they beat a banged up Leafs team that has been streaky at best; It's two days later and the Caps are no healthier and now will face a healthy Buffalo team in it's home arena that will be looking for revenge in some form or another. So...yeah. I have no idea what to expect.
- Buffalo has recently shown signs of being mortal, dropping three of their last four games including a 3-2 loss on Saturday to St. Louis - incidentally, that was just the ninth win for the Blues on the season.
- The Caps may not be completely healthy, but youngsters Schultz and Nycholat put together solid games Saturday against the Leafs and may be able to put some pressure on the Sabres' multiple lines of attack.
- The last Caps win over Buffalo was accomplished with several key offensive players out of the lineup, so the Caps should go into tonight's game with the confidence that they have beaten the Sabres before and can do it again. The good news is, no one expects them to take two from Buffalo - the pressure is all on the hometown team for this one.
- I was impressed with what Beech had been doing early on in the season and I still love him with Semin and Pettinger, but I've been frustrated at his apparent lack of grit along the boards - he's not as talented offensively as Zednik, so he needs to stop playing like him and start taking the body more.
- Semin was one of the best players on the ice Saturday night and his all-around game has improved dramatically since the beginning of the season - look for him to continue a great run.
- On the other end of things, Sutherby continues to be dry as a bone. Apparently the dry spell is contagious, as it has most recently claimed a previously hot Matt Pettinger. I'd like to see Petty at least pick his game back up to where it was the last time these two teams tangled.
- We all know that the overhyped rematch with Atlanta fell well short of the bloodbath people predicted, so I think it would be silly to think that tonight's game with Buffalo will be any different. Having said that, this is a different situation and I would expect the Sabres to at least add a little mustard to hits on Ovechkin and anyone in a Caps jersey. There may not be any fights, but I'd look for a very physical game.

Possible Lineup for the Caps
8-Alex "the Target" Ovechkin, 9-Dainius "Esa" Zubrus, 17-Chris "Captain Courageous" Clark
28-Alex "Laser" Semin, 24-Kris "Zednik" Beech, 18-Matt "Sutherby" Pettinger
15-Boyd "Killer" Gordon, 16-Brian "Any Freakin' Day Now" Sutherby, 27-Ben "Slimer" Clymer
87-Donald "Bodyguard" Brashear, 21-Brooks "Gordie Howe" Laich, 38-Jakub "Bench Warmer" Klepis

2-Brian "Point Shot" Pothier, 26-Shaone "Sicky" Morrisonn (per Vogel) or 55-Jeff "Ice is Slippery" Schultz
6-Jamie "Scarface" Heward, 52-Mike "Down Goes Tucker" Green
3-Lawrence "Newbie" Nycholat, 44-Steve "Quicksand" Eminger

1-Brent "Heeere's Johnny!" Johnson, 37-Olie "the Return of Godzilla" Kolzig

Possible Lineup for the Sabres
55-Jochen "Macys, Nordstroms and" Hecht, 48-Daniel "I'm Sorry, So Sorry" Briere, 29-Jason "Tartes de" Pominville
28-Paul "the Defender" Gaustad, 23-Chris "the Terrier" Drury, 12-Ales "Warm Winter" Kotalik
26-Tomas "Mom's Mini" Vanek, 9-Derek Roy, 61-Maxim "FHM" Afinogenov
76-Andrew "Peeeete" Peters, 13-Jiri Novotny, 22-Adam "Phantom Kicker" Mair

6-Jaroslav "Time for a Random" Spacek, 51-Brian "Glen" Campbell
27-Teppo "Ware Party" Numminen, 45-Dmitri "the Maid" Kalinin
5-Toni "Tony Tone" Lydman, 10-Henrik "Big &" Tallinder

30-Ryan "Run Away!!" Miller, 43-Martin "the Flying Goalie" Biron


KevinP said...

How sanctimonious, but thanks for the link.

CapsChick said...

Aw, you're welcome! :)