Pregame #74: Capitals vs. Hurricanes

Washington Capitals (49-14-10) @ Carolina Hurricanes (30-34-9)
RBC Center

Time: 7:00pm
TV: Comcast Sportsnet
Radio: 820AM, 1500AM, 106.7 FM and XM
Previous Games:
Nov. 30 – WSH 3 @ CAR 2
Dec. 11 – WSH 4 v CAR 3 OT
Dec. 28 – WSH 3 v CAR 6
Mar. 10 – WSH 4 v CAR 3 OT
Mar. 18 – WSH 3 @ CAR 4 OT
Games Remaining:

The Caps head to Raleigh, North Carolina to take on those pesky Carolina Hurricanes for the third time in 15 days. The Caps are looking for their 50th win of the season (tying a franchise record) that will bring them closer to the President’s Trophy, and need just one point to break the franchise record for points in a single season. A win tonight would also set a new record for road wins. So no Pressure.  Last time these teams met the Canes got us in OT by a Ray Whitney goal, so we can imagine a little pay back may be in order for the division rivals.

Here some notes going into tonight’s game:

– 4 of 5 games played against the Canes were decided by a single goal, 3 of those 4 ended in OT. After an emotional close game last night against the Penguins, plus a little travel, this one could be close as well.

Alex Ovechkin has 15 PIMs in games against the Canes this season. Did someone talk about his mom?

– Of the Caps top two lines, Nicklas Frontstrom Backstrom has faired the best this year against the Hurricanes, being +1 with 2 goals and 6 assists. Ovi has yet to score a goal against the Canes this year, but has thrown up 7 assists. And who says he’s selfish?

– Geesh, the NHL has more Staal’s than a ladies room. Watch out for yet another of the Staal brood tonight as Eric has dominated the Caps this year with 10 points (4 goals, 6 helpers). He’s +3 with a power play goal to boot.

– Look for the Green Monster tonight. Mike Green has scored 4 goals against Carolina in the five previous games- leading the team in goals against the Canes. However watch out, he only has 1 assist and is a –2 over those games.

– So far this season the Canes have out scored the Caps in the 1st and 3rd Periods, 7–4 and 6-3 respectively. On the other hand, the Caps have owned the 2nd 8 goals to 4. Total, the Canes have scored 18 goals against the Caps who have put up one less on the Canes. Damn 6-3 loss throws everything off.

Jose Theodore has the night off as Semyon Varlamov gets the nod this evening. Varly is 0-0-1 this year against the Hurricanes, but expect the D to step up a bit, as they generally allow less shots when the kid is in net.

Jeff Schultz and Shaone Morrisonn are the healthy scratches. McHandsomePants Laich is still out recovering from Carlson’s recent attempt as a facial reconstructionist.

So time for our RTR reader’s predictions: Who’s scoring first? And for the kicker, who gets the assist?