Ovie And The Caps Come To Town: Canucks-Capitals Preview

CAPITALS (21-7-6) VS CANUCKS (19-15-0)

GAME TIME: 7:00 PST

TV: TSN

THE ENEMY: Russian Mob: aka Japers' Rink

UPDATE (11:00 AM): Thought this was funny. Sami Salo talking about his son loving Ovechkin: "Maybe when I’m retired I’ll buy him an Ovechkin jersey," Sami said. "He doesn’t have to wear mine, but I’m not going to buy him an Ovechkin jersey as long as I’m playing for the Canucks." - Vancouver Sun

UPDATE (1:42 AM): Wanna see a pic of Cody Hodgson carrying the Olympic Torch in his hometown of Markham Ontario? Check it out. Back seems fine. Faker. (I kid)

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Changes will be made to the Canucks' roster when they play Washington tonight. For starters, Kyle Wellwood will replace Darcy Hordichuk. Once again, Alain Vigneault kept Hordichuk's minutes to an ultimate low last game (2:22), and Darcy had got into a tussle with George Parros. Aaron Rome will take the place of Mathieu Schneider. He is 14 years younger then Schneider and I would bank on him being more reliable in his own end as well. Schneider has struggled here, and it appears that rumors of his future with the team are about to begin.

Rome has scored 6 goals and 7 points in 7 games with the Moose this season. Pretty good for a defenceman! Welcome back, Rome. Make it count!  Vigneault, according to the Province, would not say what his defensive pairings would be against the Caps, but the pairings at practice were: Mitchell with Salo, O'Brien with Ehrhoff and Rome with Bieksa.

So how about those Capitals?

More after the jump...

Well, they are duking it out with Pittsburgh right now for who is the best team in the NHL. The Penguins lead them by one point after beating the Flyers on Thursday night. Yeah, the Penguins, who only have 1 OT loss to their credit. The Capitals boast an impressive 11-5-3 road record this season. They have won 8 of their last 10, out-scoring their foes 39-22 in the process. No one is even close to scoring as many goals as they have this season (124). The Canucks have scored 106 goals. The Caps' 95 goals against puts them in the middle of the NHL pack. The Canucks have allowed 88.

Who's cookin' for Washington? Duh!

-Ovechkin has 3 goals and 8 points in his 5 games back since his suspension for knee-ing. Can we contain him?

-Nicklas Backstrom has 4 goals and 7 assists in his last 6 games played

-Alexander Semin has 2 goals and 7 points in his last 6.

-Tomas Fleischmann has 5 goals and 3 assists in his last 6.

-Mike Green has 3 goals and 3 assists in that span.

-Brendan Morrison has cooled off of late, with only 2 assists his his last 6 games played.

COMPARATIVE STATS

GOALS PER GAME AVERAGE: Capitals 1st overall, Canucks 5th

GOALS AGAINST PER GAME AVERAGE: Canucks 10th, Capitals 13th

5 on 5: Capitals 1st, Canucks 3rd.

POWER PLAY: Capitals 1st, Canucks 3rd. That could be the game story in this one.

PENALTY KILL: Canucks 20th, Capitals 21st

SHOTS PER GAME: Capitals 6th, Canucks 12th

SHOTS AGAINST PER GAME: Canucks 10th, Capitals 13th.

FACEOFF %: Capitals 6th, Canucks 11th.

There are a lot of categories there where the 2 teams match up pretty evenly. Regardless, the Canucks cannot be coming out flat, trading chances in a wide-open game, or turning the puck over against a monster team like Washington. Hell, look how bad it was against the Ducks. I expect a much better and consistent effort from Vancouver tonight. They are going to need it. The Caps have had 3 days off.

-Roberto Luongo has a 15-10-3 record in 30 career games against Washington, with a 2.26 GAA, .930 save percentage and two shutouts. -Canucks.com

-The last time these 2 teams played eachother was in Washington, October 13, 2008. Ovechkin was kept off the scoresheet, but Michael (I priced my ass out of the NHL) Nylander and Mike Green made the Canucks pay in a 5-1 route. The Capitals out shot the Canucks 35-10! Are you kidding me? True story.

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