Thursday, March 01, 2007

Gameday Preview: Caps vs. Lightning

Who: Your Nation’s Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Where: Verizon Center
601 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
When: Thursday, March 1, 7:00 pm

Broadcast Info: CSN, WTEM 980 AM; SunSports, WDAE 620 AM

Media Notes:
Washington Post
Washington Times
St. Petersburg Times

2006-07 Season Series: Caps 1-3-1, Lightning 4-1-0

2006-07 Standings: Caps 24-29-11, 59 points – 5th in division, 14th in conference; Lightning 36-25-4, 76 points – 1st in division, 3rd in conference

Last Game: February 15 in Tampa Bay, Caps lost 3-2 in shootout
- When Olie Kolzig injured himself in practice the Monday before this game, there were many people, myself included, who thought this one was going to be ugly. It’s nothing against Johnson, but the Caps just don’t seem to play well in front of him. Luckily I was wrong, because even though the Caps failed once again to get the extra point in the shootout, they played a very good (and very entertaining) game against a very tough team.
- Every team seems to have a Cap-killer, and I think I mentioned before this game that Lecavalier is Tampa’s. He didn’t disappoint in this one, picking up both goals for the Lightning en route to a 3-2 shootout victory.
- All but one goal was a special teams goal, with Semin and Lecavalier trading power play goals and Vinny getting a shorthanded goal. The lone even strength goal? A goal in the last 15 seconds of the third period by none other than Dainius Zubrus, his 20th of the year, to force overtime. *Sigh*
- Ovechkin served a bench minor for the Caps, and no sooner did he get released then he was off to the races, generating a scoring chance on the rush. So when Johnson was whistled for playing outside the trapezoid about 30 seconds later, who goes back in but Ovechkin, who had a nice chuckle with the official in the box. It backfired on the Caps, though as Tampa scored on the power play just 12 seconds in.
- The Caps outshot the Bolts 38-29 and actually controlled large portions of the game. Were it not for the stellar performance of Tampa goaltender Marc Denis, the Caps had this game in hand.

Things to Look for:
- Tuesday night the Caps fell behind very quickly, spotting Florida a 3-0 lead before the opening frame was ten minutes old. The aftermath of the trade deadline and the absence of their captain clearly was impacting players and fans alike. But then Hanlon called a timeout and it was all Caps from then on. Against Tampa, such a comeback may be a bit tougher, so the Caps need to start the game with the same fire they came out with at that point.
- Tampa has stormed to the top of the division over the last week or two and despite some stumbles in their recent homestand they remain hot. The Caps need to bring whatever is left of their A game to this one if they want to come out with a win.
- After a prolonged slump both points-wise and performance-wise, I think there was little doubt to anyone watching the Caps Tuesday night that Ovechkin was back with a vengeance. I don’t know if it was just overcompensation for the loss of Zubrus or a sign that he is truly out of his funk. I do know that his last three games have been his best games in a long while, each one progressively getting better. And since Hanlon had him out there on practically every shift Tuesday night, I’m not the only one who noticed.

Possible Lineup for the Caps
(With the trades and the implication from Hanlon that the lines are going to not only be mixed up but also kept somewhat hidden, I'm going to resort to a roster list...just this once.)
24-Kris "Back in the Saddle" Beech • 10-Matt "Eternal Black Eye" Bradley • 87-"The" Donald Brashear • 35-Frederic "The Savior" Cassivi • 17-Chris "I'm Your Captain, Yeah Yeah Yeah" Clark* • 27-Ben "Not a Penguin" Clymer • 44-Steve "Healthy Scratch" Eminger • 4-John "Wrong Side of the Rock" Erskine • 14-Eric "It's Only" Fehr* • 43-Tomas "Like Butter" Fleischmann • 15-Boyd "Killer" Gordon • 1-Brent "Olie's Stunt Double" Johnson • 23-Milan "Rock the Body" Jurcina • 37-Olie "We Miss You" Kolzig* • 21-Brooks "Russian Sandwich" Laich • 26-Shaone "Ladies Man" Morrisonn • 47-Bryan "Heward's Stunt Double" Muir • 8-Alex "Zubie's Stall" Ovechkin • 18-Matt "No Finish" Pettinger • 2-Brian "Point Shot" Pothier • 55-Jeff "Silent but Deadly" Schultz • 28-Alexander "Lazy A-, er, Pass" Semin • 16-Brian "Hot Hands" Sutherby
*denotes injured player

Possible Lineup for the Lightning
9-Eric “Foster” Perrin, 17-Ruslan “Rusty” Fedotenko, 19-Brad “It’s a Glitch” Richards
4-Vincent “Journey Groupie” Lecavalier, 20-Vaclav “Live Long and” Prospal, 26-Martin “Frodo” St. Louis
27-Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor, 74-Nick “Minute Man” Tarnasky, 34-Ryan “CJ” Craig
XX-Jason "Shiny New Bolt" Ward, 56-Kyle Wanvig "Happy Family"
22-Dan “A Watched Pot Never” Boyle, 54-Paul “Mighty Morphin Power” Ranger
55-Shane "Come Back, Shane! (to Anaheim...) O'Brien, 72-Filip Kuba “Gooding Jr”
21-Cory Sarich “and Rescue”, 44-Nolan “Ryan” Pratt
3-Doug “Jack, Chrissy and” Janik
30-Marc “Lion’s” Denis, 40-Johan “Five” Holmqvist


Smitty said...

You forgot Novotny!

Given the tenor over on Tarik's blog over the last 24 hours, I'd go with Jiri "What does it matter, he's not Zubrus" Novotny.

Wish I could watch the kid play tonight, but I'll be out :(

CapsChick said...

Oh my god, you're right! OOPS! I just copied and pasted the roster from the Caps site and they forgot him. I thought he was still out until Saturday with the ankle injury, though.

Hmm...I'm trying to quell the hatred over this trade, so that nickname may not work so well ;) Poor kid, it's not his fault. Bad enough he goes from a 1st place team to DC, but he has to put up with a bunch of fans who didn't want Zubrus to leave.

hockeygirl said...

56-Kyle Wanvig "Happy Family"

Maybe one of the most disliked players in the WHL. He used to play for the ICE and was a whiner so when he left and came back with whatever team he was with the crowd yelled, "Waaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnvig," in a whiny voice. Awesome.

Shelby said...

That shootout was cookoo bananas! I don't even care that we lost it. The stress was getting to me! (Also, like you've said, its not like we need the points and the experience is great.) Johnny played an amazing game; we're a lucky team to have him as a backup. Novotny actually played well. He's going to be a welcome addition to the team, I believe.

Where were the top shelf shots in the shootout? I don't know about them, but it seemed to me that the five and seven holes were a bad idea.

Oh, and did you see the open letter from GMGM on the Caps page? I think it was a smart move and I see where he was going with each move. (I still miss Zubie though.)

Victor said...

How great was it that when Bengt Gustafsson was introduced he got a standing O, while Larry Murphy got whooped? That was, without a doubt, the biggest laugh of the night.

Exclusive (I hope) to CapsChick: My gf's father is an off-ice official; before that, he worked in the the press box since 1974 or '75. He always drops off a copy of the media notes before the game starts. I was getting water or a beer or something when he dropped the notes off; when I returned my gf's mom said he had been chatting with Bengt before the game and Bengt mentioned that was the first time he had been back to Washington since he left the Caps.