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GAME DAY PREVIEW: Canucks @ Capitals

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Well, that Sunday game was pretty much the kind of gong show I feared: PK not up to par, give up a lead early, etc. While it was encouraging that they damn near pulled off the comeback, that game shows what I have been saying all along. This team can go head to head with anyone, as long as they get the full 60 minute effort.

Rob Carr/Getty Images
Time Tuesday 4:00 PM PST
TV Sportsnet Pacific
Season Series 1-0 Canucks
Last Meeting
4-2 Canucks Oct 26/14
The Enemy Japers' Rink Scoring Leaders H. Sedin: 6-16-22
N. Backstrom 5-19-24

Canucks
CATEGORY
Capitals
16-7-1 SEASON RECORD 10-9-4
33 Points 24
4th Conference Position 10th
Lost 1
Streak Lost 1
3.04 (5)
Goals For Per 60 (GF60)
2.78 (12)
2.71 (17)
Goals Against Per 60 (GA60)
2.74 (19)
18.4 (17) Power Play % 28.8 (2)
84.2 (10) Penalty Kill % 77.5 (23)
48.6 (22) Faceoff Win % 50.8 (13)
10.4 (17) PIM / GP 10.1 (14)
50.9 (12) Corsi For % 52.2 (8)
100.2 (12) PDO 99.0 (24)

It's amazing we don't spend more time talking about it, but I think we're more like the Washington Capitals than our expansion cousins the Buffalo Sabres. Little playoff success, though they've come close. Rivalries with teams who have had recent Cup wins. And a player or players that are legit superstars who constantly get disrespected by fans and media alike.

Does Alex Ovechkin have deficiencies in his game? Sure. Show me someone who doesn't, but before you do, know that you're wrong. Every player has off nights. Ovechkin's crime is that he's Russian, and therefore we have to deal with xenophobes like Don Cherry, Glen Healy and others who take the most mundane things that Ovechkin's done and turns them into hockey's version of high treason. He is a rare talent and a lock for the hall of fame when his playing days are done. I'd take him on this team in a heart beat.

So it's always exciting when you get to play against one of the league's true superstars because it's a

Oh, hell. We forgot who coaches them. And while we're not saying that Barry Trotz is a bad coach, we did grow reeeeeeeaaaaallllllyyyyyyy tired of Trotz teams over the years.

The Caps have struggled a bit of late, losing three of their last four including a 6-2 slapdown at the hands of the Leafs Saturday night. One thing that is rolling for them right now is their power play, and we all know what happened Sunday when a normally strong Canucks PK took a game off. A strong first period, avoiding taking unnecessary penalties, and getting a better effort from the top line should lead to success for the Canucks tonight. It was the top 2 lines getting things done for the Canucks when these teams met on Oct 26th, with goals from Vrbata, Higgins, Bonino, and the winner from Luca Sbisa of all people in a 4-2 victory. Getting back on track with a win before heading to Pittsburgh Thursday would be a good thing.

So making sure they keep a handle on Ovechkin & Nicklas Backstrom, & a defence that is without Mike Green & John Erskine, plus a bounce back game from Ryan Miller should lead to a Canucks victory, right?  Looks like no changes in the Canucks lineup as well. So far the Canucks are doing alright as they try and ride out the long term absence of Dman Dan Hamhuis. It does make you wonder though, should they falter on the rest of this 7 game Eastern swing if they won't try and get some help for a Dcore that has struggled at times, in spite of their record.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Washington DC has a pretty rich musical history, one that actually might surprise you. There is of course the legendary hardcore/metal crossover band Bad Brains, and Minor Threat (whose Ian Mackaye went on to form Fugazi). There's also Darkest Hour, Animals As Leaders, and a band I've been a fan of for a long time: Deceased. There may not be a better band out there at translating horror literature and film into songs. This track is a perfect example of what I mean: A creepy ghost story involving a hitchhiker, complete with twist ending.

Impromptu Drinking Games Rules

drink

- 1 Drink: The 'G.C.' words.

- 1 Drink: Aaron Volpatti shoutout.

- 2 Drinks: Glen Hanlon shoutout.

- 2 Drinks: Picture of Jaromir Jagr in a Caps jersey.

- 3 Drinks: Intermission crew says something offensive about Ovechkin.

- 3 drinks: John Garrett tries and fails at some political humour.

Parting thoughts from Metalocalypse