Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Gameday Preview: Caps vs. Senators

Who: Your Nation's Capitals vs. Ottawa Senators
Where: Verizon Center
601 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
When: Wednesday, December 6, 2006, 7:00 pm

Broadcast Information: NC8/CSN+, WTNT 570 AM; TSN (Ah, national coverage...wrong nation, but still)

Media Notes:
Washington Post
Washington Times
Ottawa Sun
Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa Citizen 2

See? Having low attendance is a good thing...
Ovechkin v. Crosby, Round 5

2006-07 Standings: Caps 11-9-6, 28 points - 3rd in division, 11th in conference; Senators 14-12-1, 29 points - 4th in division, 9th in conference

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

Last Game: November 6 in Washington, Caps won 4-3 in OT
- It looked like it was going to be a loooong night for Caps fans the last time Ottawa was in town. The Sens blasted Kolzig with 3 goals on just 5 shots and sent him to the bench just over halfway through the first period. But Johnson would come in and shut down the Sens, stopping all 21 shots he faced and giving the Caps a chance to stage a dramatic rally.
- The Caps scored a goal per period, rallying back from a 3-goal deficit to win in overtime thanks to Chris Clark's 5th goal of the season.
- The Alex show was in full effect - Ovechkin netted 2 goals and Semin picked up 3 assists, including one on the game winner
- This was a very disciplined game for both teams, with the Sens taking only 4 penalties and the Caps taking just 2, their lowest total of the season. However, the Caps still made the Senators pay, scoring 2 power play goals. For you math wizards out there, that's 50% effectiveness...not half bad.
- The Caps' defensemen were very active in the play, as 4 different d-men picked up assists - Heward, Green, Pothier and Eminger
- Matt Pettinger got the Caps on the scoreboard in the waning seconds of the first period with his first goal of the season. After missing most of the preseason and the first 7 games of the season, Petty had registered only 2 points in his first 6 games. Since then, he's done a little bit better...Matt has points in 9 of his last 12 games and has 14 points (8g, 6a) overall.
- I thought it was a pretty good game, but I definitely
hid it well...

Things to Look for:
- The Sens are experiencing a bit of a rebirth of late and come into Verizon Center a much different team than the last time these two teams met. The loss to the Caps a month ago was their 4th straight at the time, a streak that would finally end at 5. In their last 11 games, though, Ottawa has gone 9-2 including 2 wins against the high-flying Sabres. During that stretch they've outscored their opponents 44-23 to climb back up among the league leaders in goals per game.
- The Caps are on a bit of a tear themselves, having won three straight for the first time since the end of last season and doing so against some pretty good teams in Tampa, Dallas and of course, Buffalo.
- Although ranked 18th in both penalty killing and power play, the Caps have struggled a bit with the extra man and have gone 2-for-15 in their last 3 games for a success rate just over 13%. Of course, they scored power play goals in 7 straight before that and they lost all but one of those, so what do I know...
- Ottawa takes the 5th most shots per game and the Caps continue to anchor the league in allowing the most shots per prediction? Olie's going to be facing a lot of shots.
- Apparently the Caps got in Gerber's head, because the Sens opted to put him in against the Islanders last night and Emery against Washington tonight. You can't help but be flattered...
- Emery has been extremely effective in net for Ottawa, posting a sparkling .932 save percentage and having a GAA of just over 2. He's allowed 4 goals only once in 14 starts - not bad considering that the departures of Chara and Pothier made a once potent Senators defense slightly more vulnerable.
- Sens' captain Daniel Alfredsson apparently injured his leg in the third period of last night's win over the Islanders and may miss tonight's game. I hope he heals, but not until after the game - Alfie has 42 points in 37 games against the Caps, including a goal and an assist in his last visit to our nation's capital.
- Despite their offensive prowess overall, the Caps have several guys whose point totals have seemingly dried up lately (ignoring the game Saturday night, because everyone and his mother had a point...):
- Brian Sutherby - Sutsy has only one goal this year, a marker in the 6-4 loss to Tampa back in October, and has registered only 8 points overall. He has two assists in his last three games, but prior to that he went 9 games without a point. It's not for lack of trying, though - Sutherby's game has, in my opinion, picked up dramatically since last year. It's only a matter of time before he finds his touch again.
- Dainius Zubrus - After jumping out to a red-hot start with 18 points in 18 games, Zubie had just one assist in his last five games before recently becoming ill. He is apparently ready to go for tonight, though.
- Ben Clymer - With only 7 points, Clymer's return to forward hasn't been too productive so far and he has gone long stretches without a point, although his goals tend to be well-timed. He is riding a 2-game point streak coming into tonight's game - shhh...don't make any loud noises, you might scare it away.
- It seems early to do this, but all of these conference matchups are starting to become more important in the playoff race as we head towards the halfway point of the season. As much fun as it is to root against divisional rivals, I'm not sure the Caps will be able to win the division if Atlanta and Carolina continue their success. Therefore it's likely going to be teams from the other divisions that the Caps will be fighting with for that last playoff spot. The Eastern Conference is incredibly tight right now, with 10 points separating 2nd place and 13th place; compare that with a much more wide-open Western Conference, where 1st and 9th are separated by 20 points. Things are going to start to get interesting down the stretch...

Possible Lineup for the Caps
8-Alex "the Goon" Ovechkin, Dainius "the Sicky" Zubrus, Chris "All I Want for Xmas is My 2 Front Teeth" Clark
28-Alex "2.0" Semin, 38-Kris "Life's a" Beech, 18-Matt "Hot Hands" Pettinger
10-Matt "Enrique" Bradley, 16-Brian "K.O." Sutherby, 27-Ben "Over the Head" Clymer
87-Donald "the Instigator" Brashear, 15-Boyd "the PKer" Gordon, 38-Jakub "Soul Patch" Klepis

2-Brian "Bring It On, Ottawa" Pothier, 26-Shaone "Gonchar" Morrisonn
47-Bryan "He Shoots, He Scores!" Muir, 52-Mike "End to End" Green
4-John "Bring It On...Whoever" Erskine, 44-Steve "I Heart Erskine" Eminger

1-Brent "Heeeere's Johnny" Johnson, 37-Olie "No Mo' Mo"Kolzig

Possible Lineup for the Sens
11-Daniel "Alfie" Alfredsson, 20-Antoine "
Holy Sh*t" Vermette, 27-Peter "Paul" Schaeffer
25-Chris "Brashear's Punching Bag" Neil, 12-Mike "the Marlin" Fisher, 44-Patrick Eaves
15-Dany "Packing" Heatley, 19-Jason "Wide Open" Spezza, 22-Chris "Machine Gun" Kelly
16-Brian "Erskine's Punching Bag" McGrattan, 17-Denis "Dorothy" Hamel, 37-Dean "of Students" McAmmond

4-Chris "I Miss Chara" Phillips, 14-Andrej "I Don't" Meszaros
7-Joseph "Ivan" Corvo, 24-Anton "Chekhov" Volchenkov
5-Christoph "Franz" Schubert, 42-Tom "What's So" Preissing

1-Ray Emery "Board", 29-Martin Gerber "Baby"


hockeygirl said...

1. I love the nicknames.
2. It's funny that you say Your Nation's Captials because Ottawa is our nation's capital. It's a real international match-up!

CapsChick said...

1. The nicknames are fun to do, I try and have them up for every game...
2. I think I had toyed with making it Your Nation's Capitals vs. Their Nation's Capitals in my preview the last time they met, but I thought it might go over my fellow Americans' heads...we're not so good with the geography beyond our own borders. So many people down here think that Toronto is the capital!

hockeygirl said...

Well, there are a great number of Canadians that believe Toronto is actually the centre of the universe so it wouldn't be too far-fetched.

CapsChick said...

I remember, I knew a lot of them when I was in Montreal...they reminded me of nicer versions of New Yorkers or Philadelphians (?) with better accents of course.