Game 12 Preview: Caps v. Carolina Hurricanes

Posted by Dave Nichols | Thursday, November 06, 2008 | , , | 0 comments »

The Washington Capitals (5-4-2) return home from a one-point, two game road trip to face the Southeast Division leading Carolina Hurricanes (7-3-2-16) at the Verizon Center tonight at 7:00 pm.

Washington enters play tonight second in the division behind Carolina, due in part to dropping their last two contests, to Buffalo and Ottawa, on the road. The team was dramatically outplayed and out skated last Saturday in Buffalo, getting shut out 5-0 by Ryan Miller and the Sabres. The intensity definitely picked up Tuesday in Ottawa, but the Caps fell with less than 40 seconds in overtime as a defensive breakdown allowed Dany Heatley to beat G Brent Johnson cleanly to his stick side.

Coach Bruce Boudreau really put his team through the paces in a couple of practices between the two games, trying to instill the mentality necessary to play a complete 60-minute hockey game, an accomplishment rarely achieved for these Capitals this season. Even though the level of play picked up in Ottawa, the Caps still drew five penalties -- including three hooking calls -- to only claiming one.

Washington is third in the league in most penalty kill attempts.

LW Alex Ovechkin returned to the team for the game against the Senators after missing the previous two to be with his ailing grandfather in Russia. He was held pointless, and Coach Boudreau remarked that Ovechkin looked "tired" in the third period. This will be his first home game since returning to the lineup, and the faithful at Verizon Center are sure to receive him warmly.

Brent Johnson, off his stellar 42 save performance at Ottawa, will start in goal for the Caps. He is 1-1-2, with a 2.47 GAA and .914 S% for the season.

Coach Peter Laviolette's Carolina squad comes in to this one banged up with injury, but having won their last two games, both against the Toronto Maple Leafs. They won Sunday 6-4 and Tuesday 5-4 in overtime. The Hurricanes are paced on offense by LWs Ray Whitney and Tuomo Ruutu and centers Eric Staal an Rod Brind'Amour Though veteran Brind'Amour is a team low -10 for the season, he has four goals and four assists.

Cam Ward is the Hurricane starting goalie. He's 4-2-2 so far with a 2.58 GAA and .922 S%. His backup is Michael Leighton (3-1-0, 2.70, .915).

WAS: PP-20th (15.7%, 8/51), PK-15th (81.5%, 12/65)

PP-17th (17.2%, 10/58), PK-20th (79.6%, 11/54)

LW Alexander Semin (8-9-17, +7), RW Tomas Fleischmann (tied for second on team with four goals)

CAR: LW Ray Whitney (3-8-11, -5), C Eric Staal (5-4-9, +3)


RW Matt Bradley (1-0-1, -3), RW Chris Clark (0-1-1, -1)

CAR: RW Patrick Eaves (0-2-2, +1), LW Sergei Samsonov (0-2-2, -5) __________________________________________________________

D Brian Pothier (concussion-OUT)

CAR: D Frantisek Kaberle (leg-IR), D David Tanabe (concussion-OUT), C Brandon Sutter (concussion-OUT), D Joni Pitkanen (knee-OUT), RW Justin WIlliams (achilles-OUT), C Matt Cullen (leg-QUE)