Usually when Alexander Ovechkin is in a slump, so are the Washington Capitals. For the most part, it seems to go hand in hand.
However the 2008-09 season has been quite distinct early on, as the Capitals have established the fact that this is not the same team from a year ago. Sure, most of the players you see out there were a part of the 2007-08 Southeast Championship team, but this is a different Capitals squad. They have a different swagger, a charisma that has aided them in all four games this year. In three of said games, they have trailed by atleast two goals, only to come back and make a game of it. They are 2 of 3 in those games.
Tonight they are taking on the same 3-1-0 New Jersey Devils. So far this year, the Devils have had trouble putting up points, as their leading scorer is Zach Parise with three points (2G, 1A) in four games.
In comparison, Washingtons leading scorer is Alexander Semin who has eight points (4G, 4A) in four games.
Brian Rolston, New Jersey's prime off-season acquistion will be out of tonight's game, so they will be even more pressed to score.
On the flip side, the Capitals will be lacking defenseman Tom Poti, who has been a staple on their blueline. John Erskine will dress again tonight and Sergei Fedorov will play on defense as well. Chris Bourque has been called up from Hershey for the game as well.
If the Capitals are able to jump out to an early lead on goaltender Martin Brodeur they should be able to cruise to their fourth win of the year.
Update: Washington assigned goaltender Michael Neuvirth to the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL. It was speculated that he might be loaned to another AHL squad, but it appears that never materialized. More information will follow.
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