Saturday, October 27, 2007

Capitals/Blues Preview

First off, everyone say a prayer for Patrice Bergeron. I was watching the game and Bergeron was definitely knocked out by the hit and could have spinal injuries.
CBC reported on Hockey Night in Canada that Bergeron suffered a concussion and a broken nose, but has full feeling in his arms and legs.

The Caps venture into St. Louis tonight to face the Blues (5-3-0) and will be without the captain Chris Clark (who sustained an ear injury after being hit by an Alexander Ovechkin slapshot last night) and defenseman Tom Poti (groin) when the puck drops at 7:30.

It's nice to see that apparently the Caps have been listening to my suggestions - Backstrom should be centering a line with Ovechkin and Kozlov tonight which should work well with Backstrom being a pass-first guy, Ovechkin loving to shoot and Kozlov available to be a big body in front of the net. My only worry is that Backstrom will become so focused on feeding Ovechkin that he will pass up scoring chances for himself, but it really isn't too much a concern as Clark should only miss this game from what I'm reading. With the Ovechkin/Kozlov/Clark trio looking so good, and Brooks Laich playing well on the checking line, I'd expect them to be back together as soon as possible.

The bottom line for this game is really pretty simple: The Caps should win. The Blues most talented players are either past their prime (Keith Tkachuk, Doug Weight, Paul Kariya) or are young players who still have a lot of developing to do (Erik Johnson [out tonight], David Perron, Brad Boyes), with the exception of Barret Jackman. The lineup has holes and netminder Manny Legace is a borderline NHL starter at best.

Simply put, the Blues are the type of team the Caps need to beat if they want to play postseason hockey.

Notes: Fleischmann is expected to play on the left with Nylander and Semin...the two teams have not met in 21 months...Brent Johnson will probably start for the Caps...The Blues averaged 12,520 in attendance last year, last in the NHL but are averaging over 18,000 so far this season.


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