Welcome back, kids! The frivolity and fun is over - it's time to return to the forechecking and fury. We've all had a nice little break, and now the Caps get back to the task at hand...the playoffs!
Who: Your Nation’s Capitals vs. Carolina Hurricanes
Where: RBC Center
1400 Edwards Mill Road
Raleigh, NC 27607
When: Friday, January 25, 7:00 pm
Broadcast Info: NC8, WTNT 570 AM; FSN South, Y102.9 FM
Raleigh News & Observer
2006-07 Season Series: Caps 2-2-0, Hurricanes 2-2-0
2006-07 Standings: Caps 20-21-7, 47 points - 4th in division, 13th in conference; Hurricanes 25-19-6, 56 points - 2nd in division, 6th in conference
Last Game: January 18 in Raleigh, Caps won 5-2
- For the first time in a long time, the Caps seemed to get the bounces in this one. It all started with the Caps coming out strong but getting on the scoreboard after a dump in by Chris Clark that was deflected into an empty net by Tanabe's stick.
- A nice power play goal off the faceoff from Alexander Semin would give the Caps a 2-0 lead, a score they would carry until early in the third when the Hurricanes woke up. A great outlet pass from none other than Brash led to another beautiful Semin goal (honestly, has he had many ugly ones??); that tally was sandwiched in between two Carolina goals from Cole and Staal to make it a one goal game going into the last minute of play.
- After pulling the goalie in an attempt to tie it up, Chris Clark scored his second of the night in a hard-working empty netter, and Ovechkin would cap off the scoring with another empty net goal 20 seconds later.
- Both teams were very disciplined, allowing for a good flow in the game as they combined for only 6 penalties all night.
- The Capitals were outshot in the last two periods, failing to register double digits in both frames and ending the night with 30. They allowed 36, continuing their bizarre success when being outshot; Olie Kolzig's record when facing 35+ shots extended to an amazing 10-1-1. So...ready, aim, fire??
Things to Look for:
- The series between these two teams so far has been like a ping pong game - they seem to catch each other on bad nights and exploit the other team's temporary ineptness. The winning team in each game so far has never scored fewer than 4 goals, the losing team never more than 2. In fact, 5 of the 8 games played last season followed the same pattern - through 12 games and two seasons, the winning team has had a margin of at least 2 goals in all but two games, back-to-back 4-3 losses to finish out the 2005-06 season series. I don't know that any of that is particularly relevant to tonight's game...I just thought it was interesting.
- There's no nice way to put it - the Caps were clearly struggling as they headed into the All Star break. In their last 16 games they are 5-11, with the longest winning streak during that period extending to just 3 games. That being said, it's easy to see a break like this or like the Olympic Break as the end of the first season and the beginning of the second.
- The good thing about getting no respect from the NHL or the fans outside of DC? Most of your guys get to rest during the All Star festivities. The boys are hopefully recovering from their assorted maladies, just in time for a vicious fight to the end. Last year we saw them fly out of the gate after the break, and I'm hoping this time around we'll see the same effect. Our two representatives are both 21 and very resilient, although I doubt I'm alone in hoping Greenie spent the rest of the week in his hotel room with his foot propped up and wrapped in ice.
- The Caps literally put us to sleep last week when they took on the Panthers, staging a game that seemed completely opposite from what had taken place two nights earlier. I think they all know how they limped onto the ice last Saturday and will be ready this time around. Lately they haven't been as good at bouncing back from a bad loss, but after the week off they'd better remember how or those golf trips they took will prove to merely be warmups for April.
8-Alex "the Sophomore Who Did Score" Ovechkin, 9-Dainius "Zubie Doobie Doo" Zubrus, 17-Chris "the Tourist" Clark
28-Alexander "the Snubbed" Semin, 24-Kris "Hibernating" Beech, 18-Matt "Broadway" Pettinger
10-Matt "Polar Bear Club" Bradley, 16-Brian "Bad Crowd" Sutherby, 27-Ben "Being -17 is Only Good in Golf" Clymer
87-Donald "Piano Man" Brashear, 15-Boyd "The Man" Gordon, 21-Brooks "In With A Bad Crowd" Laich
3-Lawrence "Remembers His Roots" Nycholat, 44-Steve "Bad Crowd's Roomie" Eminger
2-Brian "Illness...or Injury?" Pothier, 26-Shaone "Petty's Big Apple Buddy" Morrisonn
6-Jamie "Scarface" Heward, 52-Mike "Young Star" Green
1-Brent "Stalker" Johnson, 37-Olie "Got My Picture Taken With Goofy" Kolzig
A note on the nicknames - I'm starting to think that my brain works in very odd ways and some of these may only make sense to me. That being said, please feel free to drop a comment or shoot me an e-mail if you don't get where a nickname is from. If you want to figure it out on your own a good way to do that is to check out the assorted preview articles, although this one is taken pretty heavily from Vogel's piece on how the Caps were spending their break.
If you do get them but don't find them funny or if you just don't particularly care, then this note has been a waste of your time and merely serves as proof that puttng something in italics will draw attention to it. You are still welcome to comment or e-mail - I welcome criticism.
Thanks for reading! :)
Possible Lineup for the Hurricanes
13-Ray “Former Oilers Stick Boy” Whitney, 17-Rod “Caps (and Lady) Killer” Brind’Amour, 26-Erik “Caps Killer 2: The Wrath of” Cole
11-Justin “All Star #1” Williams, 12-Eric “All Star #2” Staal, 61-Cory “Matthews” Stillman
59-Chad “In the Spring, Becomes” LaRose, 25-Eric “Southern” Belanger, 24-Scott “Jay” Walker
16-Andrew “Cheryl” Ladd, 27-Craig “the Only” Adams, 19-Trevor “The Big” Letowski
4-Dennis “Dressing on the” Seidenberg, 22-Mike “Fro Boy” Commodore
28-Andrew "Starsky and" Hutchinson, 45-David "Alley...OOPS!" Tanabe
2-Glen “Old Man” Wesley, 48-Anton “How Much Wood Could a” Babchuk "Chuck"
30-Cam “Babyface” Ward, 47-John “Golden” Grahame