Friday, January 18, 2008

Panthers/Capitals Preview

Florida Panthers at Washington Capitals
Saturday, January 19th, 7:00 PM
Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
Last Meeting: 12/1/2008, Capitals win 2-1

This game is important for so many reasons: it concludes the Capitals homestand and for this team the difference between going 4-1 and 3-2 over five games is huge, the winner assumes sole control of third place in the Southeast Division and a win would let the Capitals gain ground on the stumbling Carolina Hurricanes (3-6-1 in their last ten) and Atlanta Thrashers (lost 10-1 to Buffalo last night).

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About the Opponent

Florida Panthers (21-23-4, 46 points, third in the Southeast Division, 12th in the Eastern Conference)

Team Leaders
Olli Jokinen (22)
Olli Jokinen (22)
Olli Jokinen (44)
Plus/Minus: David Booth (+7)
Penalty Minutes:
Nathan Horton (59)
Gregory Campbell (4)

Betcha Didn't Know...
The Panthers have finished in fourth place in the Southeast Division each of the last five seasons.

Random Panthers Statistic
6'2'', 239 pound forward Anthony Stewart has never been in a fight. This season, Stewart has played in 23 games for the Panthers and has yet to pick up a penalty.

Keys to the Game

Play a high-octane game. Florida is a defenseive (read:boring) team that likes to slow down the play and limit chances. The Capitals need to take the game to them and force the Panthers out of their game plan.

Be aggressive. Alex Ovechkin has five goals in his last five games, Alexander Semin has four in his last three, Mike Green has goals in three straight and ten points in his last seven games and Tomas Fleischmann and Viktor Kozlov look ready to break out. There's no way the Panthers can contain all the Capitals offensive weapons for a full sixty minutes, so if they want to win they're going to have to put some pressure on the Caps.

Players to Watch

Tomas Fleischmann - I said it already, but Flash really does look ready to break out and finally start putting pucks in the net after creating those great chances, and I think he'll start tonight.

Jay Bouwmeester -
For any team playing the Capitals, the biggest priority has to be stopping Ovechkin. If there's anyone on the Florida roster who can do it, it's Bouwmeester.

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