Monday, July 28, 2008

Game-By-Game Reasons To Watch: February

We previously gave you reasons to watch every Caps game in October, November, December and January. Here's why you should watch the games on the slate for February:

Feb. 1 vs. Ottawa: There's something "right" about starting Super Bowl Sunday with a Caps game. All-time, the Caps have an 11-5-2 record on the day of the big game, including a shutout win in one of the more memorable regular season games the team has played (which, incidentally, preceded my favorite football game ever).

Feb. 3 @ New Jersey: By the time this game rolls around, you'll be watching the NHL's all-time winningest goaltender at one end of the ice and the netminder with the best shooting percentage in League history at the other end:

Feb. 5 vs. Los Angeles: The Kings aren't far from putting it all together. They've got a solid group of (very) young defensemen, a couple of immensely talented forwards (and raise your hand if you knew that Dustin Brown lead the NHL in hits last year), and once Jonathan Bernier arrives to stabilize the goaltending position, look out. That said, they're not there yet. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Alex Ovechkin will score a goal against the Kings this season, something he has yet to do in his NHL career.

Feb. 7 vs. Florida: Prior to the Caps win over the Cats back in January, Florida had been 10-2-1 in their previous 13 trips to D.C. The Caps took the final two V.C. meetings between the two teams last season, and will look to keep picking up points against one of the Division's weaker sisters.

Feb. 11 @ N.Y. Rangers: The Caps haven't won at Madison Square Garden in six post-lockout trips to the Big Apple, but they didn't have Jose Theodore (9-8-2/2.38/.918 versus New York) or Sergei Fedorov (34 points in 26 games against the Rags) for any of those.

Feb. 14 @ Tampa Bay: Olie and the Bolts on Valentine's Day. Aww...

Feb. 15 @ Florida: The Caps played both Florida teams on the road back-to-back twice last season and went 1-3 in those four games. In 2006-07, they were 0-4 in those situations and in 2005-06 they were 0-1-1. This is an inherently tough trip (the Caps are 4-7-1 in Sunrise since the lockout), regardless of which teams are up and which are down in the standings.

Feb. 18 vs. Montreal: The Caps have a five-game late February homestand that will bring the top two (and three of the top five) Eastern Conference teams from a season ago to town, and it begins with the defending Conference Champs. There should be plenty on the line the rest of the way.

Feb. 20 vs. Colorado: Besides being the second consecutive game for Theodore against one of his two former teams, this might be your last chance to see Joe Sakic. Don't miss it.

Feb. 22 vs. Pittsburgh: It's NBC Game of the Week against the Pens, so someone please remind Nicklas Backstrom at which end the Caps are shooting. By the way, by this date last year, Ovechkin already had more goals than Evgeni Malkin would score all season.

Feb. 24 vs. Philadelphia: The Flyers re-signed Riley Cote to a three-year deal earlier this summer, which likely means at least a couple more of these:

Feb. 26 vs. Atlanta: Celebrate the one-year anniversary of the acquisitions of Sergei Fedorov, Matt Cooke and some other guy by watching the Caps (and any of their 2009 acquisitions) help the Thrashers get closer to that top spot in the John Tavares lottery.

Feb. 28 @ Boston: Maybe the B's will be wearing their sweet third jerseys. No, not these, but these.

Game of the Month: NBC picked Caps/Pens, so who am I to disgree with those geniuses?


Anonymous said...

it is interesting that both of our home games against the Pens are both weekend games, and our games in Pittsburgh are weeknight games.

JP said...

If by "is interesting" you mean "sucks," then I agree. Hopefully all those new season ticket holders will tilt the balance in the crowd a bit more in the home team's favor.

Of course, if Edzo's calling the game, he'll still say it's half full of Pens fans.

Anonymous said...

GOTM for me is Colorado.

While I will always have a soft spot for Dale Hunter--he was exactly what we needed for that 1986-87 team--the thought of Sakic being the pick we sent to the Nordiques still pains me to no end.

Unknown said...

Agreed re: the Sakic pick, bigonetimer, but the good news is that back then, the Caps never would have made such an intelligent draft choice as Sakic. Or at least, that's what I tell myself...

JP said...

What're you guys talking about? The Caps did draft Sakic.

Anonymous said...

+1, JP

Jason-you mean you don't remember the indominable Jeff Ballantyne?

Caps Nut said...

How could the Caps have been outshot in OT 5-0 in a game that they won in OT???

JP said...

Good question. It looks like they've got everything backwards, as it seems it was the Caps with 36 shots on goal and the Flyers with 28. Check out Hextall's and Peeters' stats for 1/31/88.

Anonymous said...

the acquisitions of Sergei Fedorov, Matt Cooke and some other guy

LOL. Nice peg.

Anonymous said...

An NBC Game of the Week involving the Penguins??? You don't fucking say!