Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday Roundup/Gamenight: Caps @ Flames

[AP Preview - WashingtonCaps.com Preview]

Since the lockout, the Caps and Flames have tangled but twice - once on each team's home sheet of ice - meaning that of Alex Ovechkin's 250 career NHL games, residents of Calgary have had the chance to see him in their building exactly once, which is, of course, how many times Jarome Iginla has visited the Verizon Center in the past three seasons. But each of those meetings has been something special, no doubt leaving fans longing for more.

In the first meeting between these two elite power forwards (October 30, 2006), Ovechkin's Caps left the Saddledome with a 4-2 win, thanks to a big night in net from Olie Kolzig, a pair of goals apiece from Richard Zednik and Dainius Zubrus (sidenote: which, if any, of those three would make the current Caps roster?), and AO blowing up Dion Phaneuf.

The last time these teams met was last March, when Ovi scored twice in the last 2:05 to give Kolzig a 3-2 win, the 300th of his career.

A few pre-game notes:
  • The Flames are allowing the most goals per game in the League and have had trouble scoring five-on-five in the early going (and their performances overall have been somewhat uneven). The Caps, on the other hand, are a five-on-five machine so far. If they stay out of the box, they'll be putting themselves in a good position to succeed.
  • Ovechkin hasn't yet scored a goal in the Saddledome, one of seven NHL cities in which he has been held goal-less (Chicago, Edmonton, L.A., Minnesota, San Jose and St. Louis are the others).
  • Throw out the first period against Atlanta and Jose Theodore has a 2.79 GAA. Throw out his three first periods overall and he has a 1.35 GAA. Five of the nine goals he’s allowed have been on the PK. Of course, goals allowed are goals allowed, but I think the concerns over Theodore's play so far have been greatly overstated and aren't far from being respectable (that said, the fact that Brent Johnson has played more minutes through five games is noteworthy).
  • JT60 has a career 9-7-2 mark against the Flames with a 2.15 GAA and .922 save percentage (don't forget Theo's Avs are in Calgary's division). Last season, Jose was 5-3-0/1.95/.928. Stout.
  • Michael Nylander had 17 goals and 36 assists in 93 games for the Flames and Chris Clark had 53 goals and 53 assists in 326 games for Calgary (who drafted him in the third round, 77th overall, in 1994).
  • Sergei Fedorov has 22 goals and 29 assists in 56 career games against Calgary.
  • Jarome Iginla has been a staple on my fantasy team for years now, so if someone's gotta score for the Flames...
  • Look for Calgary to try to play a physical game against Ovechkin.
So the Caps open their three-game road trip in Calgary (birthplace of Washington blueliners Mike Green, Jeff Schultz and Tyler Sloan), where they haven't lost since March 13, 1999 (when Nicklas Backstrom was 11-years-old). Might as well keep that streak going, eh?

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

This morning's Calgary Sun has articles on Green and AO and a game capsule, and The Leader-Post has one on Ovechkin, too (The Globe and Mail too!).... The Caps are down two spots to ninth in CBS's Power Rankings.... Brits are excited to watch Ovi online (but not Sid?)... John Walton Hockey has a nice recap of what's been going on in S.C. so far.... Here's an interesting nugget for you: Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Matt Stairs (who has quite a way with words) is "the first New Brunswick athlete to reach the final in one of the big four professional sports since Mike Eagles of Sussex played in the 1998 Stanley Cup final as a member of the Washington Capitals." ... Matt Pettinger is on re-entry waivers. Will anyone want a $500k Princess?


b.orr4 said...

I got to tell you, Ovechkin gets more positive press than Obama. If there's a better liked player in the league, by both opposing players and the media, please point him out to me.

JP said...

@ b.orr4: I was thinking the same thing, and could only come up with the guy he's facing tonight - Jarome Iginla - in terms of universal adoration and respect.

Carlito said...

"It's coming. Don't worry. (Tonight), you'll see." as per Ovie in the Calgary Sun.

Mount St. Ovechkin is about to erupt. Watch out.

b.orr4 said...

Spot on, jp. And that's what makes AO getting that kind of praise in Calgary so special. Do you think the guys up in Pittsburgh would ever dig themselves out of Crosby's butt long enough to write that kind of story about Ovechkin? (Yeah, I'm talking to you Madden)The Canadian press gets how important Alex is to the league and they're not afraid to say it, even when they've got a great player like Iginla in their home town.

Tyler said...

The sum total of my thoughts on tonight's game: CGY gets last change. Mike Keenan will go to the ends of Alberta to make sure Jerome Iginla is on the ice when Tyler Sloan is.

AJD said...

Since you mention Zednik, while watching the Florida game last night I got to thinking about my favorite (still active) ex-Caps. Here's the list.

1. Zednik. Home-grown talent, exciting player, great fun to watch during the Finals run, was genuinely sad to leave the franchise. I do think he'd make this team, btw.

2. Olie. 'Nuff said.

3. Metropolit. Undersized kid with a ton of heart who found a way to stick in the show. Nice story.

4. Andrew Brunette. Hands of gold and feet of lead. If there were a baser metal than lead, I'd use it to describe his feet, as his skating brings a smile to my face whenever I see it. Another guy I'm pleased to see make it.

5. Ken Klee. I just like his name. You can say it all together real fast for amusement. For some reason I liked him when he was here and I have always wished him well.

Mr. B said...

Zednik is my favorite ex-Cap as well, and I do think he'd make the team.

Alex PBR Ovechkin said...

No kidding, I drink 5 beer...thats why i do some crazy move..maybe cuz im drunk...

slainte said...

.. Matt Pettinger is on re-entry waivers. Will anyone want a $500k Princess?

Yes Tampa Bay

Shaggy said...

Holy crap:
Another entry into the file of "Former Caps picked up by crappy Florida franchises". See Zednik,R, Kolzig,O and Pettinger, P.

bigonetimer said...

I'll venture Nick Lidstrom gets similar press to OV.

Seriously, this is a dream matchup for the NHL: two of its top 5 forwards AND 2 of its top 5 young defensemen.

Living in MT, I considered going but it is such a drag crossing the border now and flights to CAL are obnoxiously priced (and I'll be in Anaheim/LA back to back next month)...it's going to be a great game tonight. Caps continue their mastery over the Stampede City in a squeaker, 4-3.

Kent W. said...

Ovechkin is eminently likable. I dont know how any hockey fan could think otherwise. Not only is he one of the greatest young talents of all time, his gregariousness and passion for the game are commendable.

Id say he's one of my favorite players these days.

Hazardous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hazardous said...

I knew before the game even started, when I read "Bill McCreary" as one of the referees that we'd already lost. Sure enough...

They have some dipshit earn 9 minutes by being a hotheaded moron and we pay for it by getting BS call after BS call all night? Fire this retard, already.

Deleted and reposted for grammar.

Go Green Go! said...

What the hell was that?! If you saw anything good about the Caps PP you're an asshole.

McCreary can suck it, by the way.