Pregame #70: Washington Capitals vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Washington Capitals (39-20-10) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (37-24-7)
Verizon Center
12:30 PM
Radio: 820AM, 1500AM and XM
Team Promotion: St. Patrick’s Day Celebration and Jersey Auction, Amtrak’s “Go Green” Day
Last Game: Mar 14, 2010 WSH@CHI 4-3 W
The Enemy:  Our Bloguin Partner: Blackhawks Down Low, Second City Hockey

The Southeast Division-leading Washington Capitals continue to roll.  They won their 7th straight game on Friday night, and they are showing no signs of slowing down.  The Capitals have taken control of the #2 spot in the Eastern Conference and are now chasing the Philadelphia Flyers for the top spot.  A win today could make a big dent in the Flyers’ lead.

Yesterday the Chicago Blackhawks made their appearance at the White House to celebrate their Stanley Cup Championship with Chicago native Barack Obama.  The Blackhawks come to DC losers of their last two games.  This comes after completing an 9-0-2 run, including an 8-game winning streak, that saw them rise to 5th place in the West after being out of the playoff picture.  The Blackhawks are 9-1-3 in their last 13 games overall, and the defending Stanley Cup champions are revving up at the right time. 

Injury Report:  Capitals defensemen Mike Green (head) and Tom Poti (groin) are on long-term injured reserve. G Semyon Varlamov (knee) is out.  C Nicklas Backstrom (hand) is questionable.
-The Blackhawks are expecting to be without D Jordan Hendry (knee) and C Dave Bolland (concussion).  D Brian Campbell  (lower body) is questionable. 

Go Green
Find out how Chicago is Going Green For St. Patrick’s Day.

What to watch for:

Raising Kane:  Chicago RW Patrick Kane is on fire.  He’s on a 7-game point streak (3-6-9) and has 24 points in his last 19 games overall.  With the Blackhawks surging, Kane may even follow the President’s suggestion that he re-grow his playoff mullet

Ovie’s MoJo:  Rookie C Marcus Johansson has set up Alex Ovechkin for a goal in 2 straight games.  Johansson’s more literal playing style may actually suit Ovechkin better than injured chess-master Nicklas Backstrom.  Either way, it’s working, and Ovie has another young Swedish center feeding him scoring chances.

Spring Forward:  Don’t forget daylight savings time was at 2am.  With an early afternoon game that has already been moved up from 3pm to 12:30pm, it would be easy to miss today’s game.  Let’s hope none of the players do.