Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Caps/Senators Preview

Washington Capitals (19-19-7)
Ottawa Senators (26-19-2)

TV: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: Sportstalk 980-AM
Gametime: 7:30 PM

The Caps will try to end a five game losing streak tonight when they take on the Ottawa Senators from Scotiabank Place. They will have a tough challenge as Ottawa comes into the game as one of the NHL's hottest teams with a 9-1-1 record in their last 11 games. Their run includes them riding a four game winning streak heading into tonight's contest, outscoring their opponents by a 25-10 margin during that span. With centers Jason Spezza and Mike Fisher currently sidelined with knee injuries, wingers Danny Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson have more than picked up the slack. Heatley comes into the game with 8 goals and 15 points in his last 6 games, also recording a plus 13 +/-. Alfredsson, who had started the season off slowly which lead to trade talks of the Senators' captain, has turned his season around as of late and silenced his critics recording 4 goals and 12 points to go along with a plus 11 +/- during his last 4 games.
Brent Johnson will get the start tonight, his first since that forgettable game in Buffalo on December 26th last month. In that game he lasted only the first 7 minutes and 30 seconds of the first period, allowing 4 goals on 6 shots before being replaced by Olaf Kolzig.
In an interesting move yesterday in practice Glen Hanlon moved Donald Brashear to right wing on the second scoring line that includes the Caps hottest player left wing Alexander Semin, who enters the game on a career high five game goal scoring streak, and Center Kris Beech. This will provide the team with a more physical presence and hopefully allow Brashear to open up some more space for the play making Semin.
It will be an important game that only for the Caps mentally, to rebound from the thrashing given them by the Panthers Saturday night, but also in the standings. Depending on the outcome of the Carolina/Florida game, the Caps could find themselves in a tie for last in the Southeast Division should they loose.
As reported from Tarik El-Bashir, Alexander Ovechkin could be sporting a new visor tonight. Besides being "way cool", Tarik describes it as tinted with a blue iridium coating like you would find on a pair of Oakley sunglasses. It should be interesting to see the reaction he gets when he decides to wear it. His mirror-like visor was voted down last season by NHL general managers by a 29-1 vote.

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