Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday Thoughts

The Capitals have won three straight and find themselves only three points back of the division leading Hurricanes. And with that important note, here are my "Sunday Thoughts":

  • What an important and opportunistic week this will be for the Caps. They go into Monday night's matchup in Pittsburgh having lost six straight games to the Penguins. However, this isn't the same Washington team and they won't be facing the same Pittsburgh team. Sidney Crosby is out indefinitely (a month, perhaps even more) with the dreaded high ankle sprain. Following that, the Caps begin a home-and-home series with the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs. Six more points adding up to a six game winning streak is not out of the question. My prediction: Washington will be the division leader by the end of the week.
  • Viktor Kozlov broke out of his season long goal scoring slump by tallying twice in last night's victory. The success of Washington's second half of the season can be helped dramatically by the improved scoring output of the big russian winger. My prediction: Kozlov will resemble the player he was with the Islanders last season and finish the year with 20 goals.
  • Michael Nylander's injury could be the best thing that has happened in Nicklas Backstrom's short career. Backstrom had a career high four points (all assists) in last night's victory, and is proving to everybody that he is already playing like a number one center in this league. With Nylander out for the season, Backstrom will receive more ice-time and will play the rest of the season with Ovechkin. My prediction: Backstrom goes on a tear during the second half of the season, finishes the year with 20 goals, 50 assists and the Calder Trophy.
  • The Capitals number two and three centers, Boyd Gordon and Dave Steckel, combined to win 70% (28-40) of their faceoffs last night. Gordon has provided the team with a defensive-minded second line option to complement the flashy Fleischmann and Semin, while Steckel makes up the team's shut down line with Matt Bradley and Quintin Laing. My prediction: these two lines make up the backbone of the Caps run to the playoffs which will see the team win the Southeast Division and host a 1st round matchup against the (Flyers?). How exciting would that be?
  • The Stingrays shut out the Augusta Lynx last night 2-0 in front of a record crowd of 10,565 in the North Charleston Coliseum. It was the team's 4th straight win. Capitals prospect Travis Morin added an assist on the team's 1st goal giving him 43 points in just 36 games in the ECHL. He'll be the team's lone representative in the All-Star game this Wednesday in Stockton, CA which can be seen live on the NHL Network.


Paul said...

My prediction: Alex Semin scores 40+ goals this year helping lead the Caps to a SE division title and making some hay in the--yes, I will say it--the playoffs. All eyes seem to be on Malkin these days. I'm watching Semin.


g-l-k said...

Would you like to see how Russians report Ovechkin's contract extension in TV news? Take a look (the video's in English!)

This isn't spam. I really want to share this with Capital fans!
Cheers from Moscow!

Capital Fanatic said...

Thanks for that glk.