Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Caps @ Avalanche 12-15-2009 Preview

Washington Capitals (20-13; 46 points) @ Colorado Avalanche (19-16; 44 points):
Caps Game #34, Road Game #19, NHL Game #492

Pepsi Center, Denver, CO, 9:37 pm. Washington TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WFED 1500-AM. Colorado TV: Altitude. Radio: KCKK 1510-AM.  NHL Center Ice: Altitude, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic feeds.

Tonight the Caps start the first of two Western road trips this month when they go a mile high to face the Colorado Avalanche for the only time this season. Picked by many to be a non-factor this season as they looked to rebuild, the Avalanche have surprised many by leading the Northwest Division and are just two points behind the Caps in the overall NHL standings.  The Avalanche are led by Paul Stasny and Wojtek Wolski who have 34 and 33 points respectively with Wolski scoring 13 goals in the process.  The Avs have won their last two games and four of their last five including a 3-2 win at home over the Calgary Flames on Sunday night to reclaim first place in the Northwest Division.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)PostExaminerTimesCaps.com.

Neutral Views:

NHL.comAP Wire.

Open Source Intelligence:

Denver PostAvalanche.com.

What Do We Expect Tonight?:

Somewhat lost is the euphoria of the Michael "Meadowlark" Nylander departure is that the Caps have a pretty big game tonight against a tough hockey team, in a building the Caps haven't visited in over three years, and haven't had much success in when they do play there.  In their last five games, the Avalanche have not given up more than two goals in a game which seems to be their baseline for success this season running up a 13-1 record when they allow two or less goals.  So it will be imperative for the Caps tonight with the league's best offense to score early and often on Colorado.  The best chances for the Caps will come on the Power Play as Colorado has a run of the mill Penalty Killing unit that is ranked 16th overall but 25th on home ice killing just 77.2% of their penalties.  As a matter of fact, Colorado's special teams are anything but as the Power Play is 18th overall and 25th on home ice.  It would also be nice if the Caps can avoid giving up a shorthanded goal which they've done in each of their last two games, dropping moving them into a tie for second in the league overall for most shorthanded goals allowed.  And before we forget, tonight is the homecoming of Jose "Alvin, Simon," Theodore who will return to face his old team for the first time since signing a two year contract with the Caps last season.  Theodore wasn't too popular in those parts when he played there and last year he gave up four goals at the Phone Booth last year in a 4-1 loss in the only matchup between the two teams.  The Avs are going for some cheap pop tonight by honoring Mike Keane before the game in and effort to get people to show up and cheer because the Caps clearly aren't much of a draw on the road and have nobody on their roster than anybody wants to see.  Finally, the recall of Karl "Malden" Alzner will make tonight's blueline pairings interesting to see and Kyle Wilson should make his NHL debut in place of "Mighty Mouse" Mathieu Perreault who was demoted to Hershey yesterday as if there wasn't enough intrigue in the first place.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 3
Avalanche 4
Winner by Galiardi

(17-16 on the season with one perfect game)

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