Zubie doobie doo...
Tonight's "big storyline" is the first head-to-head matchup between Dainius Zubrus and his former linemate Alex Ovechkin and the rest of the Caps. Forgive me for not getting too wrapped up in that one (and personally I'd love to see AO plaster Zubie into the boards, but I'm cold-hearted like that).
The secondary storyline, of course, is the Daniel Briere-Ovechkin feud, but you've got to believe it's all water under the bridge by this point (though personally I'd love to see AO plaster Briere into the boards, but I'm cold-hearted like that).
The real story, in my mind, is to see if the Caps can keep their momentum going and play a strong game against a somewhat-slumping Sabre squad (woo hoo - alliteration!). A week ago, the question would have been "Can the Caps keep the score respectable?" but with Olie Kolzig back in net, the question now is... "Can the Caps keep the score respectable?" Make no mistake about it - this is a borderline-great Sabre team that has perhaps lost a little focus as they prepare for the playoffs. They can score goals in bunches and embarrass anyone.
What can the Caps do to give themselves a chance? Obviously playing smart helps (despite recent powerplay woes, the Sabres ice some scary talent in every situtation, so allowing them time with the extra man makes life that much more difficult for opponents). But the Caps can't afford to play passively - on some nights these Sabres don't seem interested in playing a physical game (much as Toronto didn't on Friday night), so if the Caps can bang 'em early, they could set the tone for a close game.
Can the Caps keep the score respectable? Sure. Can they win? Sure. Will they? Tune in and find out. [Ed. note: I really should be charging you all for this in-depth analysis.]
- Hart: Jaroslav Halak (30-save shutout win)
- Ross: Chris Kelly, Antoine Vermette (3 points each)
- Norris: Filip Kuba (Game-winning OT goal, 3 SOG)
- Vezina: Jaroslav Halak (see above)
- Richard: Fredrik Modin (2G)
- Calder: Jaroslav Halak (see above)
- Aiken: Nikolai Khabibulin (L, 5 goals allowed on 30 shots against versus lowly C'bus)