Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pre-Game: Capitals @ Sabres

The last time the Caps played at HSBC Arena, Buffalo had an unfair advantage... Ya see, Washington was without Alex Ovechkin who missed a pair of games to start November (both Capitals losses).

Now Washington took the 5-0 defeat at the hands of Thomas Vanek (two goals) and Buffalo, but redeemed themselves on home ice last week, holding off the Sabres 3-2.

  • Chris Bourque has been called-up, while Simeon Varlamov was demoted yesterday. Tarik is reporting that Jose Theodore will start again tonight. Jose has not won in Buffalo since January 14, 2000.
  • Karl Alzner will sit out tonight's game with a hand injury. Shouldn't be too bad, but it could be, depending on how bad well Tyler Sloan plays.
  • Washington has out shot their opponent in five of the last six games (5-1) and is now 15-6-0 when registering more shots than their opponent.
  • Mike Green failed to record a shot for the first time this year in the Caps win against Toronto a few days ago. Green skated almost 21 minutes and picked up two assists.
At the beginning of the month, I examined how the Capitals fared when Alex Ovechkin does not get on the score sheet in the month of December.

This December, the Capitals have gone 10-3, with Ovechkin collecting 12 goals and seven assists in the Caps 13 games. Ovechkin was also named the first star of the week. Here's a look at Ovechkin's (and the Capitals') improvement:

December 2005: 8 goals, 11 assists, Capitals record: 5-6-1
December 2006: 9 goals, 14 assists, Capitals record: 6-7-1
December 2007: 11 goals, 7 assists, Capitals record: 7-2-3
December 2008: 12 goals, 7 assists, Capitals record: 10-3-0 (one game left)

I think Ovechkin is trying to impress me, because every Capitals game I go to, he puts on a show. In the games I've been to this year (opening night, Nov 26 vs Atlanta, Nov 28 vs Montreal, and December 28 vs Toronto), Ovie has scored eight goals, averaging two a game...So if anyone wants to give me tickets, I'm pretty sure I'm his good luck charm.

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