Here we go - the start of another fabulous season of Washington Capitals hockey, and with it the return of the ever popular yet new and improved GAMEDAY PREVIEW!
Who: Your Nation's Capitals vs. Atlanta Thrashers
Where: Philips Arena
1 Philips Drive
Atlanta, GA 30303
When: Friday, October 5, 7:30 pm
Broadcast Info: CSN, 3WT 1500AM; SPSO, SportsRadio 680AM
2006-07 Standings: Caps 28-40-14, 5th in Southeast; Thrashers 43-28-11, 1st in Southeast
2006-07 Season Series: Caps 3-3-2, Thrashers 5-1-2
Last Game: April 4, Caps win 3-2
- The Caps finished off a very tight season series in typical nailbiting fashion, weathering the storm of an Atlanta 6-on-3 power play opportunity to pull out the win
- Alex Ovechkin had two goals and Boyd Gordon added one as well, with all three goals coming in the second period.
- Kovalchuk scored his 40th goal of the season and the 200th of his career in the first minute of the game
- With his two-goal performance, Ovechin finished the season with nine goals and five assists in eight games against the Thrashers.
- Brent Johnson had 30 saves, allowing only the early Kovalchuk goal and a late goal to Andy Sutton to propel the Caps to a win.
With the start of this season series there are still a lot of unknowns between the Caps and the Thrashers. A rivalry that was already becoming interesting last year now has the potential to be even more intense. The Southeast Division is befuddling pundits and analysts, and no one seems to be able to agree who will come out on top - so naturally, every point is going to matter.
Both teams feature potent offense and a young defense, so this game may come down to the little things. Penalty killing, faceoffs, power plays, positioning, deflections, all could be a factor tonight and down the line between the Caps and the Thrashers.
For the Thrashers, they come into tonight's game with a lot of pressure on them to prove that last year was not a fluke - something they'll be reminded of as they raise their Southeast Division Championship banner. As for the Caps, there is an equal amount of pressure to show that the rebuild is, as we've been told many times this summer, over. Taking the next step begins with the beating division rivals, with 64 points up for grabs throughout the season.
Something to think about - Alex Ovechkin sits at 98 goals for his career, Alexander Semin at 48. Between the two of them last year they had 26 goals and 13 assists against their next two opponents, Atlanta and Carolina. Anyone think, even with Semin out tomorrow night, that they can't hit those milestone numbers sometime this weekend?
Now on to a new feature here in the Cheap Seats, one of several we'll be unveiling as the season progresses:
Johan Hedberg - Hates the nickname "Moose"
Kari Lehtonen - Is actually a 43 year old mechanic from Long Island, but says that he started the Finn thing because "chicks dig accents...fuhgeddaboutit."
Ken Klee - Listens to "It's Not Easy Being Green" before games, saying "there's just something about Kermit's voice that soothes me..."
Bobby Holik - Waxes his eyebrows once a week
Eric Perrin - Used to mow John Tortorella's lawn in exchange for ice time
Alexei Zhitnik - Turned down a lucrative career as a local weatherman in his native Ukraine to play hockey