Thursday, February 8, 2007

Caps/Kings Preview

Los Angeles Kings (18-30-8, 44 points)
Washington Capitals (22-25-8, 52 points)

Television: Comcast Sports Net
Radio: Sportstalk 980-AM
Gametime: 7:00 PM ET

The Capitals season long home stand continues tonight as they welcome in the Western Conference cellar dwellers, the L.A. Kings, for the first time since November 10th, 2003.

Believe it or not the Capitals have an impressive record at the Verizon Center as of late, posting a 5-1-1 record in their last seven games. An interesting stat that gets lost because of their recent performances on the road having lost four straight and ten out of their last eleven.

The Kings limp into this contest with a 2-8-3 record over their last 13 games, but have picked up their play recently going 1-0-2 in their last three. The win was a 7-0 drubbing of the Florida Panthers, a team that has had the Capitals number this season. They also are coming off of a shootout loss to Tampa on Tuesday night, the same night Washington lost to the Bruins in a shootout. They have also posted a 4-0-1 record in their last five trips to the nation's capital dating back to the '98 season. All of this means that despite their record, they are not to be treated lightly.

While Evgeni Malkin has been getting all the attention on the east coast the Kings have a candidate themselves for this years Calder Trophy Award for the rookie of the year. Anze Kopitar, a 6 foot 4 inch 220 pound 19-year old center from Slovenia, has the size and offensive ability that teams crave. So far this season he has proven that despite his young age and inexperience he is already developing into a star, recording 13 goals and 33 assists through his first 56 games as a pro. He, like Ovechkin, gives his team and it's fans a reason to believe that good times lay ahead for their franchise.

And speaking of Ovechkin, he will try to break out of a career long three game scoreless drought tonight. He has not recorded a point since his four game goal scoring streak came to an end in a game last Saturday in Pittsburgh as the Caps were shutout 2-0.

The two teams last met a season ago in Los Angeles on December 14, 2005 as the Caps prevailed 3-2 thanks to a two goal performance by defenseman Jamie Heward.

Tonight will be a special night at the Verizon Center as the Washington Capitals host their fifth Salute to the Military night. The Caps, along with support from their corporate partners, have donated more than 5,000 tickets to military personnel. The team will also be collecting items tonight for the Comfort for America's Uniformed Services Elite. So if you're headed to the game they ask that you bring anything that would cheer up recovering soldiers. For example DVDs, video games, or even gift cards.

Game Notes:

The Kings might be without center Michael Cammalleri for the second consecutive game. He sat out Tuesday's game with what team officials are describing as a muscle strain. Cammalleri is currently second on the team in scoring with 22 goals and 29 assists in 55 games.... The Caps will have backup goaltender Brent Johnson back in the lineup tonight. Although watching him in practice yesterday he still looks as though he is laboring through a groin injury. So don't expect to see him get a start as of yet.... The team also received more good news yesterday as all three of their injured defenseman, Brian Pothier, Brian Muir, and John Erskine, took the ice yesterday. They have all been reported as being 7-10 days away from returning.

Down on the Farm:

The South Carolina Stingrays return to action tonight as they travel to Charlotte to take on the Checkers. Gametime is 7:00 PM ET and you can catch all the action on b2networks by visiting

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