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Game 17: Washington @ Nashville – Capital Punishment


Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Washington Capitals (10-4-1) waltz into the Bridgestone Arena tonight to take on the Nashville Predators (8-5-3) in the second game of a 5-game homestand. Washington, after splitting a home-and-home series with New Jersey, will be looking for their fourth straight victory in Nashville. The Predators haven’t beaten Washington at home since the 2003-2004 season.

Last Year’s Series: 0-0-1 (0-0-1 Home, 0-0-0 Away)

This Season’s Video Recaps:
Game 1 – October 16th, 2011:

Looking at the Capitals: After starting the season 7-0-0, the Capitals have come back to Earth going 3-4-1 in their past 8. Tomas Vokoun has primarily been the man in the net for the Caps, collecting 9 of their 10 wins and proving to critics that he still has more left in the tank.

Currently leading his team in points and assists, Nicklas Backstrom continues to have a great start to the new season. However, you can’t forget Alex Ovechkin in that conversation either, who leads Washington in goals. After being benched against Anaheim, Ovechkin has scored twice in the past 5 games, although they’ve gone 2-2-1 in that span.

All-star defenseman Mike Green was injured against the Devils this past weekend is “day-to-day” right now and his status for tonight is questionable.

Looking at the Predators: Nashville returned home on Saturday for the franchise’s 1000th game against the Montreal Canadians…only to lose in overtime by a pinpoint Max Pacioretty shot 2:31 into the extra frame. The Predators outshot the Canadiens 26 to 25, however they are still staying close to their yearly average of 25.8 shots per game.

Nashville’s powerplay has been shutout in the previous 2 games and they’ve only converted twice in the past 18 attempts. However, their penalty kill has been particularly brilliant and nearly exactly the opposite, shutting out opponents in the past two games and only allowing two goals in the previous 29 attempts.

David Legwand will remain out of the lineup for 3rd game in a row after suffering an upper-body injury against Los Angeles. Also, Teemu Laakso was sent to the injured reserve.

For the Capitals to win: Washington HAS to get better defense and goaltending. The Capitals have had a solid goaltender in Tomas Vokoun in net for the majority of the season, however they HAVE to have more consistent play in net AND they have to have better defensive play if they want to even have a shot at going far in the playoffs this year.

Playoffs? We’re talking…playoffs? I know it’s early to even mention it, but Washington has to look further down the road. The Capitals are giving up 30+ shots per game and are allowing nearly 3 goals in each as well (2.73 per game). Defense and goaltending wins games, wins playoff series, and wins Cups.

For the Predators to win: Fire the puck and be selfish when it’s on your stick. Too often this season are Predators players trying to “share the love” with their teammates and try to find one-another open for a pretty pass and a good opportunity to shoot. Each player on the team needs to take the “Craig Smith Approach” and shoot the puck as many times as possible on a given night.

Smith leads all rookies in scoring and it isn’t a fluke, he has talent and he likes to shoot the puck. If everyone on the team could do the same, Nashville wouldn’t ever have a problem with offense.


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Stay frosty, friends