Pregame #67: Washington Capitals vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Washington Capitals (44-13-9) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (27-31-7)

Verizon Center

Time:  7:00 pm

TV:  Comcast SportsNet

Radio:  820AM, 1500AM

Previous Games:

            November 30, 2009   WSH@CAR    W, 3-2

            December 11, 2009   CAR@WSH    W, 4-3

            December 28, 2009   CAR@WSH    L, 6-3

Remaining Games:

            March 18, 2010          WSH@CAR    7:00 pm

            March 25, 2010          WSH@CAR    7:00pm

The Carolina Hurricanes return to the Verizon Center tonight seeking to do what they did back on December 28th:  Beat the Capitals… in DC… in regulation.  After falling to the Stars Monday night in overtime, the Caps are looking to extend their home points streak (because that’s what you say when you squeeze a point out of a streak-ending OT loss).  The Canes on the other hand, are hoping to show the recently traded Joe Corvo and Scotty Walker that “the grass ain’t always greener” and keep the offense rolling after a 4-0 victory over the Thrashers on Sunday. 


As Atlanta saw on Sunday, the Caps will need to stay out of the box or step up their PK efforts.  Carolina was 50% on the power play Sunday night, scoring all 4 of their goals with the man advantage. 


Eric “I’m in the bathroom” Staal looks to be the biggest threat to the Caps, scoring 3 goals and notching 5 assists to total 8 points in 3 games against the Capitals this season.  On the Caps side of things, Backstrom and Ovechkin each have 5 points against the Canes this year (Backstrom with 2 goals and 3 assists and Ovechkin with 5 assists). 


Be on the lookout for Brian Pothier, who made his deubt with Carolina March 4th against the Senators and notched his point (an assist) as a Hurricane on March 7th against the Thrashers.  Pothier has 4 goals and 8 assists in 44 games this year.  Also be on the watch for Oskar Osala, making his Carolina debut tonight after going to Carolina/Albany in the deal with Pothier that brought Joe Corvo to DC.  Aftter a sizzling rookie season (scoring 23 goals and adding 14 assists on the rookie line), Osala hit a “sophomore slump” with a production far below his projection.  However, in a less offensive role, Osala learned more defensive responsibility and how to park himself in front of the net.  It’ll be interesting to see if his newly aquired skills in a lesser role land him a better shot at the NHL than he had with an already Left-wing-congested Capitals organization.