Thursday, January 17, 2008

Oilers/Capitals Preview

Edmonton Oilers at Washington Capitals
Thursday, January 17th, 2008
Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
Last Meeting: 10/28/2006, Capitals lose 4-0

Let's be frank. The Capitals should win this game. Period.

They're at home, just proved to the NHL they can beat top-flight opposition (four times without losing), and if it weren't for the the shootout (or as Peerless calls it "Bettman's gimmick") the Oilers might just have the fewest points in the NHL.

Expand/Collapse this Post

One of the more interesting subplots of the evening will be the Capitals goaltending situation - will Brent Johnson or Olaf Kolzig be starting? And what will the implications of either choice, and the respective netminder's performance, indicate for the Caps' situation between the pipes for the rest of this season?

About the Opponent

Edmonton Oilers (21-22-4, fifth in the Northwest Division, fourteenth in the Western Conference)

Team Leaders
Goals: Shawn Horcoff (19)
Assists: tie - Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky(25)
Points: Shawn Horcoff (44)
Plus/Minus: Tom Gilbert (+7)
Penalty Minutes: Zack Stortini (114)
Fights: Zack Stortini (12)

Betcha Didn't Know...
The Oilers official colo(u)rs are: Midnight blue, copper, red, white and silver

Random Oilers Statistics
(1) During his first three seasons at Michigan State, Shawn Horcoff averaged 0.77 points per game (36+51 in 113). His senior year he averaged 1.55 points per game (14+51 in 42)
(2) Sheldon Souray was brought in during the offseason to provide offense from the blue line and help improve the Oilers powerplay. So far Souray has played in 21 games, has nine points (three goals, six helpers), and if quarterbacking a powerplay that ranks 28th in the NHL.

Keys to the Game


Don't underestimate the Oilers. They don't have a lot of big names, they're near the bottom of the standings and the Capitals just beat Ottawa for the fourth time this year, but that doesn't mean the Capitals will be able to roll right over their guests.

Go to the shootout. Edmonton has won 11 times in the shootout this year; seven of those wins have come with Mathieu Garon in net, as Garon has stopped 21 of the 23 shots he's faced in shootouts this year (91.3%). The Oilers' best bet for a win is to fight tooth-and-nail till the clock hits zero in overtime and then try to pry away a twelfth points from the skills competition.

Players to Watch

Alexander Semin
- Semin finally looked like he was hitting his stride on Tuesday against the Senators picking up three points, including a highlight reel goal.

Jarret Stoll
- Stoll is the type of center any coach would want - he can can play both ends, has a good shot, plays a physical game and has grit to spare. The Oilers will be looking to him to help generate offense from the second line. Horcoff can't do it all himself.

No comments: