Sunday, February 04, 2007

Gameday Preview: Caps vs. Islanders

Who: Your Nation's Capitals vs. New York Islanders
Where: Verizon Center
601 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
When: Sunday, February 4, 1:00 pm

Broadcast Info: CSN, WTEM 980 AM; FSN NY, Radio 1130 AM

Media Notes:
Washington Post
Washington Times
New York Times
Long Island Newsday

2006-07 Season Series - Caps 0-1-0, Islanders 1-0-0

2006-07 Standings - Caps 21-25-7, 49 points - 5th in division, 14th in conference; Islanders 25-21-6, 56 points - 3rd in division, 10th in conference

Last Game: November 25 in Uniondale, Caps lost 4-1
- Mercifully this game marked the end of the Caps season-high winning streak, capping it off at 6 games, and despite the score may have been one of their better performances during that stretch.
- The Caps took just four penalties as compared to the Islanders seven, but converted on just one of their chances with the extra man. They failed to capitalize on an extended 5-on-3 that resulted after the Isles took 3 consecutive penalties late in the first.
- The lone goal for Washington was scored by, who else, Alex Ovechkin - he got his 15th goal of the year and his 3rd in the last 4 games despite the overall team slump.
- The Caps held a slight edge in shots through the first twenty minutes but would then match the Isles shot for shot through the remaining two periods - each team had 13 shots in the second and 10 in the third.
- John Erskine, a former Islander, and Chris Simon, a former Capital, engaged in a bit of friendly fisticuffs late in the second.

Things to Look for:
- Both team are playing their second game in as many days, and after the first of the two both could arguably come in to the game with some momentum. The Caps put together a very good performance against the Penguins but came up just short, eventually falling 2-0, while the Isles staged a dramatic come from behind victory with three third period goals to top the Habs, 4-2. Yet things aren't quite even - the Isles have gotten a bit hot of late, going 4-0-2 in their last 6. Meanwhile the Caps continue to struggle and have won just 6 of their last 21 games; this coming off of a 9-game stretch where they were 7-1-1.
- The Islanders have shown some recent brilliance in the third period in their last four wins, outscoring their opponents 11-1 during the final twenty minutes. This poses a bit of a conundrum for the Caps, because if they continue to fall behind early in games they'll need to hold off any late goal-scoring outbursts for any chance of a comeback. Bottom line? Take the lead early and try to hang on tight...
- Ovechkin saw his 13-game point streak snapped yesterday in Pittsburgh and showed visible signs of frustration after the loss. He'll come out wanting to score early and often, but he needs to be careful of trying to do too much by himself...something that may have hindered him against the Penguins, as well. Teams are starting to catch on to his slight of hand trickery, so he'll have to continue to use his linemates for support.
- The matinee match-up with the Isles marks the return of two former Caps favorites in Chris Simon and Brendan Witt, the first time back for both after being traded - Simon to Colorado back in 2002, and Witt to Nashville after requesting a trade at the deadline last year. Simon's been gone long enough that there probably won't be much fanfare, but it will be interesting to see how the hometown crowd treats the returning Witt.
- Other than the one goal by Pittsburgh Saturday, Olie was on top of his game - he'll probably have to do it again today with Johnson likely still out with his body injury and youngster Darren Machesney riding the pine...
- Jurcina and Morrisonn proved to be a potent combination in Saturday's loss, so it's fair to say that all eyes will again be on the newcomer as he tries to prove his good performance in his first Caps game isn't a fluke. I'm happy to let Nycholat, whose game has cooled off considerably of late, sit a little longer while we wait and see.
- DiPietro backstopped the Isles to their win against the Habs, but it's not a definite that we'll see Dunham in net. After all, they paid enough for Ricky DP, might as well use him...

Possible Lineup for the Caps
8-Alex "Shattered Twig" Ovechkin, 9-Dainius "Faceoff Master" Zubrus, 17-Chris "Alfred E. Newman" Clark
28-Alexander "Dipsy-Doo" Semin, 21-Brooks "What's Not to" Laich, 14-Eric "Backhand Needs Work" Fehr
18-Matt "the PGZ Line" Pettinger, 15-Boyd "Pegz" Gordon, 20-Richard "Sidney" Zednik
87-Donald "Playoff Beard" Brashear, 16-Brian "the Mouth" Sutherby, 27-Ben "Holdin' Steady at -14" Clymer

23-Milan "Defenseman of the Month" Jurcina, 26-Shaone "Providence" Morrisonn
6-Jamie "Scarface" Heward, 52-Mike "Jekyll and Hyde" Green
44-Steve "See-Saw" Eminger, 55-Jeff "Silent but...well, Silent" Schultz

31-Darren "Kenny" Machesney (I caved), 37-Olie "You Guys Couldn't Get 1 GOAL??" Kolzig

Possible Lineup for the Islanders
15-Jeff "Hey Mr." Tambellini "Man", 25-Viktor "Krum" Kozlov, 81-Miroslav "Spawn of" Satan
12 Chris Simon "Says", 27-Randy "From Hell to...Long Island" Robitaille, 55-Jason "Albino Alien" Blake
11-Andy "Hardy" Hilbert, 18-Mike "Window" Sillinger, 7-Trent "the Big Game" Hunter
10-Richard "Parallel" Park, 51-Frans "Here to Pump *Clap* You Up!" Nielsen, 45-Arron Asham

14-Chris "Summer" Campoli, 6-Sean "Blueberry" Hill
32-Brendan "the Expatriate" Witt, xx-TBD
38 Allan "Mickey" Rourke- 44 Freddy "Jason and Mike" Meyer

1-Mike "the Underpaid" Dunham, 39-Rick "the Next Isles GM" DiPietro


Netsrak said...

"31-Darren 'Kenny' Machesney (I caved)"

Tee hee hee! [does the Happy Dance]

Capital Fanatic said...

Hopefully Jurcina and Morrisonn will be a stable here for years to come.

CapsChick said...

That's the hope - they seemed to have great chemistry yesterday and are both still young, so hopefully it will continue. They can form the core of this defense as it develops over the next few years...

Jordi said...

Hells yeah! GIMME FIVE SISTAH! Though should I be slightly mad that we both gave OT points away? Those are OUUUURRSSS.