Monday, January 14, 2008

Gameday Preview: Caps vs Senators

Who: Washington Capitals vs. Ottawa Senators
Where: Verizon Center
When: Tuesday, January 15, 7:00 pm

Broadcast Info: CSN, 3WT Radio; Sportsnet, Team 1200

Media Notes:
Caps' Website
Sens' Website
Washington Post
Washington Times

First, a mini-rant against whoever writes the AP previews for these games:

"The Ottawa Senators are the best team in the Eastern Conference, but they've hardly looked like it against the lowly Washington Capitals."

The Caps are not "lowly". They're near the bottom of the league, yes, but they are only a handful of points out of eighth place and within reach of almost every team in the conference. Plus...lowly has been done. Find a new word. Rant complete.

So this is one of those games that is really a crapshoot, a game of "what ifs" and "if onlys" and "who knows".

To start, the Caps have played three games against the Senators so far this season. In none of them were they expected to win. In all of them they came away with two points. So you have the fact that the Caps know they can beat this Sens team combined with the fact that Ottawa is not about to let the "lowly" Caps sweep them without a fight. Interesting dynamic right off the bat.

Then you have the injuries on both sides and potential returning injured players on both sides. For the Sens, they recently suffered a major blow with the loss of Dany Heatley to a separated shoulder. However they'll get Patrick Eaves back after the right winger missed 24 games with, oddly enough, a separated shoulder. On the Washington side, the Caps are still missing Brian Pothier, out with a concussion, and it looks like they will continue to be without Clark after he reinjured his groin in Sunday's loss to the Flyers.

After that there are any number of factors. Ray Emery in net for the Sens is always a bit of a wild card, and Brent Johnson, who will probably give Olie the night off, keeps things interesting in his own right. The Sens are playing their third game in four nights, the Caps have more rest under their belts with just one game in the last five days. Ottawa hasn't lost four straight in DC nor have they been swept in a season series since the mid-90s. Both teams are coming off of disappointing losses on Sunday.

The one thing that seems to be certain is that games between these two teams never seem to be boring. All three have had at least 5 goals in them, with the two teams combining for 23 goals in the last two games alone. Each game one team has had a strong period and then the other team responds with a strong period of their own.

Whatever it is about the Sens that brings out the best in the Caps, let's see more of it.

Hell, let's bottle it and douse them with it before every game.


Tyler said...

I am headed to the game tonight and get to root for the Caps! Take down evil Ottawa!

DMG said...

That's funny, I read the AP preview and had the exact same reaction.

On the one hand you want to say 'oh can't blame 'em, they're looking at the standings' but on the other hand it makes you question how accurate anything they say is going to be.