Canes-Caps preview

Is it just me or does it not feel like the Caps have won 6 in a row? Maybe it’s because most of the wins were against non-playoff teams? Oh, we’re also second in the Eastern Conference and four points behind Philly from the number 1 seed. Remember when it looked like we would be in a 4-5 seed matchup in the first round? That wasn’t too long ago. Regardless, if we want to keep ahead of Tampa Bay, we will need to keep winning games against lesser opponents, especially at home.  That brings us to tonight’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. A team fighting for their playoff lives at the moment and only two points behind Buffalo and New York. We know the Canes will be giving it their all tonight but will Washington do the same?

Getting to know the Canes:

Carolina made a few moves at the deadline to help add depth to their roster by trading for Bryan Allen and Cory Stillman from the Florida Panthers. Regardless, Cam Ward will be the reason they will or will not make the playoffs. He is having a terrific season and is probably going to start for the Canes for the rest of the season. They give up a lot of shots (granted, they produce a lot as well) and he’s done a great job of not letting many get past him. He’s also played well against the Caps in his career so we can expect to be frustrated by him tonight.

Lines

Caps:

Ovechkin-Johansson-Knuble

Sturm-Arnott-Semin

Chimera-Laich-Fehr

Hendricks-Gordon-Bradley

Alzner-Carlson

Schultz-Wideman

Erskine-Hannan

Holtby

Stillman-Staal-Ruutu

Skinner-Jokinen-Cole

LaRose-Sutter-Tlusty

Bowman-Dwyer-Bodie

Allen-Corvo

Pikanen-McBain

Gleason-Harrison

Ward

News/Notes

– Outside of Staal and Skinner, I see Erik Cole as the biggest threat in Carolina’s forward corps tonight and he’s coming off a strong game against Atlanta. On pace for at least 22 goals this season.

– Braden Holtby has a shutout streak of over 116 minutes coming into tonight’s game. Will he continue it for another 60 minutes? Doubtful, but I do think we will play great for us tonight.

– No Nick Backstrom tonight but I think it’s for precautionary reasons. Let him rest until his hand is healed and let him get back to 100%. Gives Johansson a chance on the top line, too.

– Alex Semin has a goal in his past three games.

– Eric Staal’s shooting percentage is at it’s highest since 2007 when he scored 82 points. I don’t think he will top that this season but he will definitely score higher than his last two seasons, at least. When they put him and Skinner on a line in a future, they could be lethal.

Who/What to watch for:

Caps:

Eric Fehr- Let’s see how he builds off a strong first game after returning from the longest “2-4 week injury” ever.

Canes:

Erik Cole: See above.

 

Enjoy the game and let’s go Caps!

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