Caps (70 pts) @ Sabres (71 pts)
It looks like Olie will be in net tonight when the Caps take on the Sabres in Buffalo. Huet's spasms were a little more serious then thought and Olie said yesterday he would start. Although Boudreau would not confirm it sounds like it. All three goaltenders are going to make the trip.
If Olie plays that probably means Huet will only get action once in the next 3 crucial games unless Coach plays him back to back over the weekend.
After 10 goals being scored I would expect the line up to be the same.
The Caps are in Buffalo tonight to play the Sabres. The Caps have only won 2 of the last 11 games since the lockout against the blue and yellow and red and black and grey. They won in a blowout in DC and a 2-1 win that was in New York but not at HSBC Arena.
The last two times the Caps have played Buffalo have been close affairs with the last one being stolen by Buffalo. The first matchup of the year however ( like many of our games with them) was an absolute blow out by Buffalo.
Buffalo comes into town 4-5-1 in their last ten. They are currently one point ahead of us in the standings and 3 back from the last playoff spot. They have currently lost two in a row getting destroyed by Montreal 6-2 and beaten by Detroit 4-2.
While Buffalo has dominated the Caps their current stats are almost identical to each other.
Buffalo has the same amount of home wins, away wins, total wins as the Caps. They have the same P.P% and they have only 3 more Goals for this year.
Ted Leonsis was on Washington Post Live today and said we needed to win 2 of these 3 games this week. With an angry Boston team waiting up in Mass and Crosby and the Pens coming Sunday, we need to get one of those wins tonight.
For the Caps it comes down to two things.1. Mental toughness;Like last night's game they have to get over the fact that this team (like Boston) has dominated them for years. They have to commit themselves to the idea of winning and playing their game, their style, and their tempo.
The other would be to forget about Monday's game. Yes bring the confidence but that's about it. The bottom line is that whether you win 10-2 or 3-2, it's the same 2 points. Cockiness will get this young team nothing.
WHO TO WATCH
COOKE- He started the fireworks Monday night and had a great game. It will be exciting to watch him and what he does in a "normal" game.
FEDOROV- Awfully quiet on Monday with the exception being his faceoffs. I think this guy wants to pot his first one as a Cap. No better stink hole to do in then Buffalo, NY.
SPEED-Yea, they have Vanek and Pomm but really it's this collective effort by a speedy team that can do you in. The Caps have to keep up with this team; clog up the neutral zone when they are on the attack and don't hook them up and end up in the box.
Quickstart My Heart-Yea, I know cheesy. Buffalo played last night in Philadelphia. They should be a little flat footed coming out of the gate. Pounce Son!
Smart Dee- As said before, this is a speedy team. They like to come in flurries. The Caps need to avoid these flurries and if they happen clear the rebounds and avoid taking penalties out of frustration/desperation.
Caps are 3 points out. Carolina plays tonight. The Caps simply can't fall back to 5 points again ( if Car wins). At some point with only a few weeks left the Caps have to put some wins together. Bottom line-get it done. If the hockey gods align and the Caps and Thrash both win- the Caps can be 1 point out with 1 game in hand. Hachi-Machi. Let's do this thing...
Ah good times...why is their announcer so bad?
NOTE:The NHL was no help tonight as Buffalo went above us 2 more points, the Islanders passed us by a point and Flordia beat Boston 1-0 in OT. They are now only 2 points behind us.