Pregame #20: Washington Capitals at Atlanta Thrashers (11/19/10)

Washington Capitals (14-4-1) at Atlanta Thrashers (7-9-3)
Philips Arena
Time: 7:30 PM ET
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: XM
Previous Games:
Oct  8, 2010  WSH@ATL 4-2 L
Oct 23, 2010  ATL@WSH 4-3 W
Nov 14, 2010  ATL@WSH 6-4 W
Games Remaining:
Dec  4, 2010  ATL@WSH 7:00 PM ET
Jan 26, 2011  WSH@ATL 7:00 PM ET
Game Promotion:
Chick-Fil-A Family Pack (4 tickets and 4 combos, starting at $85)
Familiar Faces of Former Capitals: (none)
The Enemy:
Bird Watchers Anonymous
Thrashing the Blues


Hot off a victory over the Buffalo Sabres, the Washington Capitals hit the road tonight to face the Atlanta Thrashers for the second time in 5 nights before returning to DC to face the Flyers tomorrow. Atlanta will be looking to avenge Wednesday night’s 2-1 loss to the Florida Panthers, their second game of a 6 game home stand. While the Caps have taken two of their previous 3 meetings, they’ve each been close contests with the total scoring being almost even (Washington: 12 goals, Atlanta 11). The big story tonight will be how the Thrash react in their first game under newly anointed Captain Andrew Ladd. A two time Stanley Cup winner, Ladd is the Thrash’s leading scorer (7-11-18), and has netted three goals against the Caps this season.


I don’t know whats going on there either. Things I do know about can be found after the jump.


Three Things to Watch For:

Be Powerful: In their last 4 games, the Washington Capitals have had only 7 power play chances, and were able to successfully convert 3 (42.0%). Feeding on their recent successes, DC will need to work to draw penalties against the leagues 3rd least penalitzed team (10.7/gm) and make good on these chances; something they haven’t done well against Atlanta this season. The Caps are 1-for-14 on the power play (7.1%) against the birds.

Shots are on Me: Ondrej Pavelec will get the nod tonight for Atlanta.  His record is as pretty a scene as Michael Kors outlet after Sean Avery gets word of a sale at 1-4-2, but he has been stout allowing only 2.33 GAA and a .928 Sv% on the year. Against the Caps, Pavelec has posted a 1-8 record coupled with a 3.91 GAA and .879 Sv %. Atlanta will need him to be stout tonight, as they’ve allowed 40 or more shots on goal in 3 of their 8 games in November.

Getting Buff:  Speaking of limiting shots, Dustin Byfuglien is expected to be out of the line up tonight after being injued blocking a shot in Wednesday’s game. Youngster Zach Begosian and Johnny Oduya will undoubtedly have their hands full containing the Young Guns who hit the Thrashers for 3 goals and 3 assits the last time these teams met.