Basically, there are two ways the Caps can head into the Christmas break - on a high note and no more than seven points out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference or... well... "other." Tonight's game on Long Island, of course, will go a long way towards determining how merry the Caps' collective Christmas is, and while it's never easy to win on the road in the NHL, the Caps have a lot going for them tonight. Consider:
- The Caps have been better away from home thus far this season.
- The Isles are 3-6-1 in their last ten games. The Caps are 5-4-1.
- Islander coach Ted Nolan won't be behind the bench - he'll be in Tampa watching his son's NHL debut. Odd, but nice decision (and h/t to RBH on the link).
- The Isles played last night and won - on the season, they're 6-8-1 following a win (but they're 5-2 in the second game of back-to-backs).
- Islander GM Garth Snow is a jackass (
despiteand not just because of this). I'm not sure how this helps the Caps tonight, but I thought I'd throw it out there anyway.
- Jon Sim's still injured.
- The Isles have scored the fewest goals in hockey. Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk and Jarome Iginla have combined for more tallies this season than the entire Islander team.
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
On this date back in 2001, Brent Johnson recorded his seventh career shutout. Just sayin'... Another day, another great quote from Karl Alzner, Canada's World Junior team captain: "We're going to go there pretending we're the New England Patriots and everybody hates us." I wonder if he gets to be Tom Brady.... If it's Saturday, I'm on Ice Sheet duty at FanHouse. Be sure to stop by and check it out.
- Hart: Mike Ribiero (2G, including the OT game-winner, +1)
- Ross: 13 players tied with two points each
- Norris: Jaroslav Spacek (2A, 2 blocked shots)
- Vezina: Fredrik Norrena (W, 33 saves on 34 shots against)
- Richard: Milan Hejduk, Mike Ribiero (2G each)
- Calder: Blake Comeau (Game-winning G, A, +2)
- Aiken: Rob Scuderi (-3, 0 points, 0 SOG)