Friday, April 23, 2010

Game Day: Can the Caps Wrap Up Series Tonight?

Happy Friday hockey fans! If you're like me, you're probably on your third cup of coffee (or if you're like Alex Ovechkin, your second round of smelling salts) after staying up late into last evening to watch the crazy three period OT game between the Penguinettes and the Senators. In case you fell asleep, Matt Carkner came through with the GWG for Ottawa forcing a Game 6 tomorrow! That Sidney fella added even more numbers to his playoff resume, netting his fifth goal and padding his league leading total of 13 points.

Of course the big news here in Caps Land is that the boys are back in town and hope to wrap up the series against Les Canadiens with a Game 5 win on home ice. After scoring three goals in the first 111 minutes of the series (a 1.62 goals-per-game average), the Capitals have scored 16 goals in the last 142:08 (a 6.76 average). Washington is averaging a league-leading 4.75 goals per game after leading the NHL with 3.82 goals per game in the regular season. The boys have seen some great secondary scoring (including some sugar sweet shorthanded goals) and Ovi, Mike Knuble and  Nick Backstrom seem to be on a perfectly timed hot streak.  Knuble’s ninth and 10th career playoff goals Wednesday night marked the first multiple-goal game of his playoff career. After posting an assist in each of the first three games, the fan favorite some call "Obi Wan Knuble" carries a four-game point streak into Game 5. Meanwhile, Backstrom has eight goals and 14 points in his last 10 playoff games (20 points in his last 15). He leads the Capitals and shares the NHL lead with five goals in these playoffs and has nine goals in 10 games this April. Not too shabby! Now if someone can just wake up Alex Semin...

That said, expect the Canadiens to come out with everything they've got; tonight's game won't be a "gimme" for the Caps in any sense of the word. The scrappy Habs are rumoured to be putting Jaro Halak back in the crease - wonder if that has anything to do with Price's silly antics on Wednesday? Canadien Mike Cammalleri said yesterday that the key for the Habs is to remain loose and take the "we've got nothing to lose" approach. Meanwhile, the visitors will still be without defenseman Jaroslav Spacek who is suffering from an undisclosed illness. There are also rumors flying that wunderkid P.K. Subban could get a call up from the AHL but we shall see.

So we'll hope to see a full 60-minute effort from the Caps as they are cheered on by the fabulous fans who make up what I call the "Red Sea." Keep your wits about you boys and stay out of the box. Hockey Mom will not be covering tonight's game in detail (but best believe I will be watching with libations in hand) so be sure to visit Capitals Insider and the other phenomenal sources for all things Caps on my blog roll.

In other news, the Flyers are the first team to win their Round One series with a shut out last night against the Devil's legendary Marty Brodeur. A feisty Flyers club handed Brodeur and pals their third consecutive first round exit. Should the Capitals capture their own series this evening, looks like we'd be facing our familiar foes from the city of brotherly love for Round Two. The Flyers have been wild in the blocked shots department and last night saw Ian Laperriere block a shot with his face (triple ouch)! The uber tough guy got a face full of stitches (lucky that was all) after a very scary few minutes and swears he'll be donning a shield from this point forward. Despite losing big guns Simone Gagne and Jeff Carter due to injuries, the Flyers moved on thanks to some exceptional series play on the part of goaltender Brian Boucher.
HM wishes everyone a very happy TGIF and hope you're all rocking the red. in whatever style you choose! My worn Capitals car flag is proudly flapping in the wind (Mother's Day is coming up - HM needs a new car flag *hint hint) in my office parking lot. Counting down the hours until puck drops at 7 p.m. - let's go Caps!

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