Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Avalanche/Caps Preview

Colorado Avalanche at Washington Capitals
Wednesday, January 9th, 2008, 7:00 PM
Verizon Center in Washington D.C.

The Capitals look to kick off their crucial five-game homestand win a win tonight against the Colorado Avalanche, a team that hasn't visited D.C. in almost four years. While the Avalanche have a pretty solid roster from top to bottom they are somewhat ripe for the picking given the injuries to key forwards Ryan Smyth and Joe Sakic and the failure to have either José Théodore or Peter Budaj emerge as a true number one goaltender.

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About the Opponent

Colorado Avalanche (22-17-3, 47 points, fourth in the Northeast Division, ninth in the Western Conference)

Team Leaders
Goals: Marek Svatos (16)
Assists: Paul Stastny (29)
Points: Paul Stastny (44)
Plus/Minus: Kurt Sauer (+11)
Penalty Minutes: Scott Parker (56)
Fights: Ian Laperriere (7)

Betcha Didn't Know....
The Avalanche hold the NHL record for most consecutive sellouts with 487, a streak that spanned almost eleven years (November 9, 1995 - October 16, 2006).

Random Avalanche Statistic
Joe Sakic's 1,611 points with the Nordiques/Avalanche franchise are the third most for a player with one team. Sakic trails only Steve Yzerman (1,755 with Detroit) and Mario Lemieux (1,701 with Pittsburgh), both of whom are retired. Sakic was drafted 15th overall in 1989 with a pick the Quebec Nordiques had acquired as part of the trade that sent Dale Hunter to the Capitals.

Keys to the Game

Score the first goal. The Capitals have done a great job of coming from behind to pick up wins since Bruce Boudreau's taken over behind the bench but they can't expect to keep doing it. Eventually constantly surrendering the game's first goal is going to catch up with any team and the Capitals need to look to break this habit.

Play hard, and for a full sixty minutes. The Avalanche have a lot potentially working against them: they are playing the second night of a back-to-back set, had to travel to D.C. after playing Detroit last night, suffered a tough loss on Tuesday at the hands of the Red Wings, are playing a hot opponent and are missing two of their best offensive players in Ryan Smyth and Joe Sakic. If the Avs fall behind it might be tempting for them to just quit. Colorado needs to be resilient and play a gritty game in the face of the aforementioned adversity if they want to pick up two points in the nation's capital.

Players to Watch

Tomas Fleischmann - between the injuries the Capitals are dealing with (Nylander, Clark, Semin) and the inconsistent play of some of the guys they'd hoped would be solid offensive contributors (Pettinger) the team could use some secondary scoring. Flash has looked like he's on the verge of breaking out for several games now and the Caps sure could use some offense from the second line.

Paul Stastny - With both Sakic and Smyth out of the lineup the Avs are going to look to this young center to lead their offense. Stastny has been great in his NHL career to this point, but is he yet able to produce when he's the guy that the opposition will be looking to shut down?

1 comment:

bryan said...

GO AVS GO!!!! Injuries and playing in Detroit yesterday have taken its toll on this club. Still, I hope for a fiercely competitive game and an AVS WIN.