Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pre-Game: Capitals @ Kings

Washington (11-4-3) will carry a seven game point streak (6-0-1) into the Staples Center, a venue that the Caps have only played at once since the lockout. The last meeting there was a 3-2 Washington victory in 2005 when Jamie Heward (of all people) had a two goal game.

Los Angeles (7-8-2) has been a streaky team thus far...They won four in a row recently, but are currently on a two game skid. Goal scoring has been a big problem for the Kings: They rank near the last in the league in goals-per-game, 5-on-5 goals for/against ratio, and total goals scored. The Kings leading goal scorer is Dustin Brown with six goals... Meanwhile the Capitals have four players with more than Brown's total.

Erik Ersberg should get the nod tonight and has been pretty successful this season. Ersberg has only allowed more than two goals once this season, and has put up a 1.95 GAA. Although his record is just 4-3-1, that can be attributed to the Kings averaging 2.14 goals when in games that Ersberg starts.

Yesterday, Washington's power play scored multiple times for the first time in over a month, but success with the extra man will be a little more difficult tonight. First off, the Kings rank third in the NHL in penalty killing at home... And the Capitals could be without Mike Green and Alex Semin.

On the Capitals end, fans should be ecstatic with the way Tomas Fleischmann is playing. He scored his seventh goal last night and is just one tally behind Alex Ovechkin. At this rate, Flash will finish with his first 30-goal season. (Last year Tomas had 30 points)...And oh by the way, the only three teams that Ovechkin hasn't scored a goal against are the Capitals next three opponents.

Hopefully the defense can step it up this game as parts of last night's game were hard to watch. One of the goals was scored as Green was skating back from an offensive rush. I understand that's what he's paid for, but his teammates need to recognize this, and cover his spot when he goes on the attack. I also noticed on the second goal, Jeff Shultz attempted to punch the puck out of the defensive zone, and he hit it right to the stick of Bobby Ryan, who fed Ryan Getzlaf who had all day to do what he does best.

The banged-up Capitals' 'D' needs to shut down the LAPD line (Anze, Patrick, and Dustin) and continue to provide offensive power (4.33 GF in last six games) if they want to take down a Kings team that is peppered with young talent.

Washington Capitals Preview

Los Angeles Kings Preview

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