Friday, November 20, 2009

Now's a good? bad? time as any...Game Preview 11-20-09

Let's not dwell on the basics. You don't really need to look up the standings to know where Washington is and where the Canadiens are. If you have a general knowledge of hockey or, at the very least, been watching since the start of the season, you're groaning at the prospect of this game. I, for one, cringe at the fact that it's on a Friday. While it's been awhile since we've had one of those, I remember being fourteen and skipping Friday kickboxing classes only to watch my dear Habs come up repeatedly with, at best, an ECHL-calibre showing. The Habs are long past those days and coming off a win on Tuesday, sure, but there was more intensity in last night's Battle of the Basement Teams of the East*. Ladies and gentlemen, can you tell I'm not very optimistic? At the same time, the 'Yotes may not be as powerful as the Caps, but despite Phoenix's still-impressive record, Montreal were the ones who yanked a "W" that night, and the same might be in store for this matchup.

But then, there is this guy.

Capital Offense (and defense, and goalies)
  • I don't even think I need to say it, but Alexander Ovechkin.
  • Tomas Fleischmann. You roll your eyes because you knew that I of all people would be the one to put him this high in this category. Here's one figure that doesn't lie: out of his 21 shots, 7 are goals. For the math-unconscious that's a 33% shooting percentage, best in the entire NHL.
  • I may not be a fan of his days with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan but there's no questioning Mathieu Perreault's abilities. The former Q-league MVP is looking to make the most of the injury problems currently hounding the Caps.
  • Looking to make his NHL debut is John Carlson. The ex-London Knight blueliner is sound in his own zone (+14 in 17 games in the AHL) and also boasts ten points.
  • The question remains in net, where it could be one of two 21-year olds. Semyon Varlamov is most famous for bringing Washington to the Eastern Final, while little Czech Michal Neuvirth, a recent call-up, is also a recent Calder Cup winner.

To my understanding of the Capitals' current woes, there won't be a Semin, Jurcina, Laing, Gordon, Knuble or Morrisonn tonight. The Habs are looking to prove themselves despite their own injuries, and this is a good opportunity as any to do so.

*for those that missed it: the hell-match between Toronto and Carolina last night.

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