Thursday, February 15, 2007

Gameday Preview: Caps vs. Lightning

Who: Your Nation’s Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Where: St. Petersburg Times Forum
401 Channelside Dr.
Tampa, FL 33602
When: Thursday, February 15, 7:30 pm

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

Media Notes:
Washington Post
Washington Times
St. Petersburg Times

Welcome Back, Dan!!

2006-07 Season Series: Caps 1-3-0, Lightning 3-1-0

2006-07 Standings: Caps 23-26-8, 54 points – 5th in division, 14th in conference; Lightning 32-24-2, 66 points – 2nd in division, 6th in conference

Last Game: January 11 in Tampa, Caps lost 5-4
- Of the four games these two teams have played so far this season, this was probably the most exciting – unfortunately the wrong team came out on top, but in a season series that has mostly been a snoozefest, it was nice to at least see an interesting game.
- Lecavalier continued his abuse of the Caps with two goals and an assist, but he wasn’t the only one with three points – Prospal also added a goal and two assists to the scoring frenzy.
- The two teams traded goals for most of the night, with each team taking the lead at some point during the game.
- While so many games this season have been decided by specialty teams, this one was an exception – the two teams combined for just eight penalties, and each went shorthanded only twice. The lone power play tally was scored by Semin to tie the game up at 1 in the first period.
- Olie Kolzig took the blame for the loss after the game, saying that "The team played terrific. The goalie let them down [...] I just didn't make the saves I needed to make, and that basically was the difference." After bailing the Caps out so many times this season, I think they can forgive him for ‘letting them down’ just this once.

Things to Look For:
- The big story right now is obviously the loss of Olie Kolzig, out with a knee injury for at least 3 weeks. It will be interesting to see what this does to the Caps both on the ice and off, as it has been well documented that they have played better in front of Olie than Johnson this season and everyone knows what kind of a presence Olie has in the locker room.
- It’s interesting to note that of the two goalies, Johnson has actually had more success against the Lightning lately, going 4-1-0 with a tie through 6 games and posting a 2.11 GAA.
- Every team has one or two players that other teams pay special attention to – for the Lightning, it’s no secret that those players are Lecavalier and St. Louis. And, like all high profile players, these two have no problem lighting the lamp with alarming consistency against the Caps. Through 40 games, Vinny has 16 goals and 16 assists, while St. Louis has 12 goals and 14 assists through 32 games.
- Having said that, there couldn’t be a better time for the Caps to get stalwart defensemen Brian Pothier and John Erskine back from the IR – both have been cleared to play and should be in the lineup tonight, strengthening a blue line that has already improved over the last week or two.
- Meanwhile the Caps’ own sharpshooters, Ovechkin and Semin, continue to be mired in mini-slumps. Ovechkin appears to be slowly emerging from his dry spell, picking up an assist against LA and getting a goal in the 5-2 loss to the Rangers; Semin, on the other hand, has taken a bit longer to snap out of it – he is goalless since January 27 and has only 3 assists since then.
- With the Caps largely out of the playoff hunt (barring some miracle or other) and the Lightning mired in the thick of the race for a postseason berth, this seems like as good a time as any to start playing spoiler. Who knows, enough wins against playoff-bound teams and the Caps may find themselves back in it! It could happen...

Possible Lineup for the Caps
8-Alex “Speedracer” Ovechkin, 9-Dainius “Hit Me with Your Best Shot (Or Not)” Zubrus, 17-Chris “Jack ‘o Lantern” Clark
28-Alexander “ESL” Semin, 21-Brooks “Jeeves” Laich, 14-Eric “County” Fehr
18-Matt “Invisible Man” Pettinger, 15-Boyd “Killer” Gordon, 20-Richard “Butt Rockets” Zednik
87-Donald “Fighting=$$$$” Brashear, 16-“What About” Brian Sutherby, 27-Ben “Brashear’s Understudy” Clymer

23-Milan “23>68” Jurcina, 26-Shaone “Gotta Go to Mo’s” Morrisonn
2-Brian “Concussed One” Pothier, 52-Mike “It’s Not Easy Being” Green
4-John “Here He Comes to Save the Day” Erskine, 44-Steve “My Boyfriend’s Back” Eminger

1-Brent “Olie’s Understudy” Johnson, 35-Frederick “the Benchwarmer” Cassivi

Possible Lineup for the Lightning
4-Vincent “Journey Groupie” Lecavalier, 20-Vaclav “Live Long and” Prospal, 26-Martin “Frodo” St. Louis
9-Eric “Foster” Perrin, 17-Ruslan “Rusty” Fedotenko, 19-Brad “It’s a Glitch” Richards
24-Andreas “Tucker” Karlsson, 34-Ryan “CJ” Craig, 15-“La Femme” Nikita Alexeev
27-Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor, 74-Nick “Minute Man” Tarnasky, 36-Andre “Brashear’s Punching Bag” Roy

22-Dan “A Watched Pot Never” Boyle, 54-Paul “Mighty Morphin Power” Ranger
3-Doug “Jack, Chrissy and” Janik, 72-Filip Kuba “Gooding Jr”
21-Cory Sarich “and Rescue”, 44-Nolan “Ryan” Pratt

30-Marc “Lion’s” Denis, 40-Johan “Five” Holmqvist


hockeygirl said...

Nice work. I can't even pick a favourite.

CapsChick said...

Well, I aim to please!

I could take credit for all of the names, but I had a little help from my roommate, so...

Nah, forget it - I take credit for all of them. After all, I am the queen of all things. Yeath.