CAPS GAME DAY--Game 77: Caps Host Worst Team In The League

Posted by Dave Nichols | Wednesday, April 01, 2009 | , , | 1 comments »

The Washington Capitals (46-23-7-99, first in Southeast, second in East) host the New York Islanders, owners of the worst record in the NHL (25-41-9-59, fifth in Northeast) at 7:00 pm from Verizon Center.

The undermanned Islanders have lost all three meetings to the Capitals this season, being outscored 12-7.

New York ranks near the bottom of the league in goals per game (2.48) and have scored the fewest overall (189). Their leading scorer, All-Star defenseman Kyle Streit, has 55 points (16-39-55, plus-9), which would rank him fifth on the Caps. No other Islander has more than 36 points, a number six Capitals have eclipsed.

Streit has a sore groin and did not travel with the team for tonight's game.

Goalie Joey MacDonald (14-24-6, 3.21, .903) has struggled at times this season, but was sharp Friday night in a 2-0 shutout of Detroit. He made 42 saves in the effort against the defending Stanley Cup champs. Yann Denis (9-13-9, 2.66, .916) had started a few games with MacDonald nursing a sore knee.

The Caps have only played twice in 10 days, a shootout loss to Toronto last Tuesday and a fairly dominant win over bottomfeeder Tampa Bay, 5-3 on Friday night. The Caps now have three games in five days to wrap up the home schedule and create some distance between them and New Jersey, one point behind them for the second seed in the Eastern Conference.

Suddenly slumping New Jersey has lost five games in a row, including Monday's 3-0 shutout to the hands of the Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers.

With six games remaining, the no. 2 seed is not the only thing the Caps are playing for.

Alex Ovechkin needs seven goals to record back-to-back 60 goal seasons. Alexander Semin needs just one goal to break the 30 goal mark, and defenseman Mike Green needs two goals to achieve the same feat, something a defenseman hasn't done in 16 years.

Brooks Laich and Tomas Fleischmann both have the 20-goal plateau in their sights. Laich has 19 goals and Flash has 17.

Capitals Insider reports that Milan Jurcina will be a healthy scratch on the blueline tonight, while Jose Theodore will start in goal for the Capitals. Enforcer Donald Brashear will miss another game with a sprained left knee. Keith Aucoin will skate in his place on the fourth line.

WAS: PP-2nd (24.8%, 77/311); PK-21st (80.1, 72/361)
NYI: PP-22nd (16.9%, 50/296); PK-12th (82.3%, 58/327)

WAS: LW Donald Brashear (Knee-IR); C Boyd Gordon (Finger-IR); G Brent Johnson (Hip-IR); RW Chris Clark (Wrist-IR); LW Quintin Laing (Spleen-Out); LW Alexander Semin (Flu-Questionable)

NYI: D Freddy Meyer (Groin-IR); D Andy Sutton (Foot-IR); LW Sean Bergenheim (Groin-Out); RW Trent Hunter (Ankle-Out); RW Kurtis McLean (Leg-Out); G Rick DiPietro (Knee-IR); C Mike Sillinger (Hip-IR)


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