Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pre-Game Thoughts: 10/11/08 Washington Capitals vs Chicago Blackhawks

The atmosphere leading up to last nights game was tense, as all Caps fans fidgeted, intent on the puck drop to start the season. And in the span of a few hours, it was the equivalent to letting air out of a balloon. A depleted sinking feeling. Doom and gloom.

And for some, it is doom and gloom. This was a team who was expected to come out of the gates fast and strike it's opponents the same way a puma goes for the jugular of the defenseless gazelle. But last night that was not to be.

The Caps gave up three early goals; and, after clawing their way back to a 4-4 tie they blew up in the third, giving up three more goals for a 7-4 finale.

Mike Green and Alexander Semin both had impressive games, putting up 6 points and scoring 3 of the Capitals 4 goals.

Tonight, they take on a talented lineup, featuring the likes of fellow Winnipeger Jonathan Toews, last years Calder Cup winner Patrick Kane and newly acquired Brian Campbell on the blue line. The Blackhawks bolster a much deeper squad than the Thrashers do, so it will be important not to slip tonight.

There are 4.5 million reasons why Jose Theodore has to be more consistent in net. After a decent preseason, Theodore blew up last night allowing four goals over the span of two periods; a few of them being Olaf Kolzig specials (check dictionary under "softies") and was pulled for back-up Brent Johnson who didn't end up fairing much better.

Chicago will ice a dangerous powerplay unit, so it will be important for Washington to limit their trips to the box.

Defense will also have to buckle down as tonight they face a very agile, aggressive and speedy club. This won't bode well for the JURSKINE duo (a combination of Jurcina and Erskine), who are two of the slower defenders in the bunch. To some it may seem like I pick on them but food for thought:

In two AHL games, Karl Alzner has 3 assists and is a +2 rating. I know it is still early in the year but I'm sticking by my convictions that he should be up here and a shake up will be needed to do so.

But to the doom and gloomers, here's even more food for thought:

I unfortunately do not have the stats handy, but I can assuredly say that under the Bruce Boudreau reign (dating back to last November for people just joining the party) the Capitals have rarely lost in back to back contests.

Bruce will have these guys ready to go. In Bruce we trust.

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