The Capitals, who are 24-3-3 at home this year, currently have a club-record 12 straight wins and look for (unlucky?) number 13 tonight against the New York Rangers at 7:05pm. Unfortunately for the Capitals, against them tonight is the dreaded reverse-lock. For those who don’t know what that is, that’s when a scenario presents itself where conditions seem so perfect for a win – that it’s fair to assume the other team will do so because of unforeseen happenings. Why do we feel that way? Well, John Tortoralla has decided to rest Henrik Lundqvist tonight (Matt Bradley’s Best Friend), and is instead giving the keys to backup goaltender Alex Auld. Auld’s numbers on the year are: W/L: 9-6, GA: 3.00, SV%: .894 and his career numbers against the Capitals are W/L: 3-4, GA: 2.73, SV%: .896. Um, weak. Bruce Boudreau will counter with our time-traveling buddy Jose Theodore.
Anyways, since the reverse lock may be in effect – look for a 5 goal game from a gentlemanly Sean Avery who’ll concentrate more on forechecking than being a complete prick, and zero points from Marian Gaborik, who’ll be in the lineup for the first time since February 12th. And oh yeah, a 45 save shutout from Alex Auld.
Back in reality land, Tarik El Bashir has the Capitals Forward Lines for Tonight’s Game:
1st Line: Ovechkin-Backstrom-Knuble
2nd Line: Laich-Belanger-Semin (Belanger promoted)
3rd Line: Chimera-Fleischmann-Fehr (Flash back to center)
4th Line: Bradley-Steckel-Walker (Bradley returns!!)
Also, our partner Michael Hoffman, who will be supplying us quotes for the rest of the year, asked Bruce Boudreau about Alex Ovechkin’s slump since returning from the Olympics. Here’s what he had to say:
“Every year I’ve been here, Alex has had a little bit of a stretch where he just can’t find the net and then the next thing you know once he gets one in, he gets ten in four games. That’s the way’s he’s been and this is his little funk. I expect him to come out of it very soon.” – An Ovechkin goal scoring slump? Coach Boudreau isn’t concerned
Will Ovi come out of the slump tonight? Will Sean Avery be an a-hole? Make sure to watch the game on CSN and follow the Russian Machine on Twitter for all your updates.
Also, below the jump are your must reads before tonight’s game. We will be referring to them as Puck Drops for now on!
“Two days ago, the Caps figured to be touch-and-go in tough playoff series if they play Pittsburgh, San Jose or Chicago. Now — in theory — they have added a penalty-killing and faceoff specialist (Belanger), a swift defenseman with a big power-play slap shot (Corvo) and a gritty, scrambling get-under-your-skin veteran (Walker). Besides, they get back an old Caps friend, Milan ‘Juice’ Jurcina” – To get even better, Washington Capitals risk tinkering with what they’ve built
“If there ever comes a time when they see fit to bring it in Washington, and I hope that’s soon, we’d love to have it at Nationals Park, but I cannot tell you that that’s gonna be happening.”- Kasten on Winter Classic prospects
“If I’m starting a team today, and they are of the same age, I take Iginla any day of the week over Crosby. Canada probably wins this tournament without Crosby. They surely lose it without
Iginla.” – Canceling out the ‘Crosby is overrated’ debate
“This is the best Caps lineup in franchise history, even if the goaltending situation remains unsettled.” – How deadline impacts playoff picture
“During Wednesday’s trade deadline, there were plenty of teams seeking help for a potential postseason push, and plenty of teams pulled the trigger. But did they actually improve their chances?” – Help Wanted, But Was It Found?
“I don’t feel the compelling need to have the third jersey.” – No Third Jersey For The Capitals