Monday, March 17, 2008

Caps Gameday - Predators/Capitals Preview

The Capitals open a season-defining six game road trip against an opponent in a similar position. The Nashville Predators have taken a lot of people by surprise this season and like the Capitals they're just two points away from an unlikely playoff berth, so this game ought to be a good one as two deep and talent teams try to go on the type of season-ending run that will be needed to bolster them into the playoffs.

Washington Capitals at Nashville Predators
Tuesday, March 18th, 2008, 8:00 PM
Sommet Center in Nashville, Tennessee


About the Opponent

Nashville Predators: 36-29-8, 80 points, 2nd in the Central Division, 9th in the Western Conference

Team Leaders
Goals: J.P. Dumont (27)
Assists: Jason Arnott (42)
Points: Jason Arnott (67)
Plus/Minus: Alexander Radulov (+17)
Penalty Minutes: Jordin Tootoo (83)
Fights: Darcy Hordichuk (12)

Random Predators Fact
The Predators have a little bit of the Capitals in their history: Former Caps' general manager David Poile is the only GM the Predators have ever had and the franchise's first goal was scored by former Capitals Andrew Brunette.

Random team Statistic
Predators center David Legwand was it's first ever draft choice and leads the team in career scoring with 327 points (121+206).

Keys to the Game

Get solid games from all six defensemen. The Predators are 10th in the NHL in goals and it's not because of one player, or even one line: Nashville already has four players with more than 20 goals (and other with 15) and six players with more than 40 points. A loss of concentration against any Nashville's lines could mean the puck winds up in the Capitals' net.

Goaltending. Chris Mason was supposed to replace Tomas Vokoun, but he's been average at best. Dan Ellis has stepped up and has great numbers on the year but he's also been somewhat inconsistent. Nashville can skate, can play defense, can score and has great depth - when they get good goaltending they're really a tough team to face.

Players to Watch

Alexander Semin - for Washing to have a successful road swing they can't just rely on the Ovehckin-Backstrom-Kolov tandem to provide the vast majority of their offense and the second-best goal scorer on the Capitals Semin needs to step it up.

Alexander Radulov - the 15th overall pick in the 2004 draft has flown under the radar a little becuase he players in Nashville, but Radulov is immensely talented and already has 24 goals and 31 assists this season to go along with his stellar +17 rating, leading a very defensively responsible Nashville team.


The Tar Heel said...

They must teach some mean geometry in Russia, how about that empty-netter on the perfect carom for Ovey?

DMG said...

Ovechkin's goal was self described as the luckiest one he'd ever scored.

That said, I feel like 95% of players miss the net on the dump in. You have to be good to be lucky, you know?