Next up Carolina, on the road in Raleigh at the RBC Center.
This should be fun, the latest The Hurricanes are, as Peerless notes 6-1-2 so far in the month of March. The key to tonight's game for the Capitals will be to play disciplined hockey and stay out of the penalty box. There are two reasons for this 1) the Capitals should be more rested than the Hurricanes so at even strength as well as when the Caps have a man advantage they ought to be able to "take it to the Hurricanes." 2) The Hurricanes penalty killing has not been very good. However, if the Caps give the 'Canes a man advantage though all bets are off. The Hurricanes' power play has been very good lately and any advantage the Caps have from being better rested than Carolina who played the Islanders last night will be squandered.
Players to watch ---
For Carolina: Matt Cullen and Chad LaRose. Both Cullen and LaRose have had good outings against the Capitals of late and last night both tallied third period goals to power Carolina past a pesky NY Islanders team who are playing with drive and dedication and want to show the league they aren't going to lie down. LaRose actually had 2 of Carolina's five goals against the Islanders.
For Washington: Jose Theodore and Alexander Semin. Theodore has seemed to elevate his game when facing a solid netminder who is having a solid game, as Cam Ward often does against the Capitals. Last game Theodore matched Ward in regulation, bested him in OT keeping the Caps in the game when they took an OT penalty and then out played Ward in the shoot out to gain the Caps the extra point. Alexander Semin had the game winner against the 'Canes last time out; last game in Tampa he didn't figure too much in the game though. Semin seems to have solid nights against the Hurricanes and with Erik Cole and Eric Staal playing relatively well, the Caps will need both Alexs to create time and space for each other and the rest of the team.
Okay with that out of the way, I'd like to point out there is another reason to go to hockey games in South Florida if the fact the Panthers are fighting for a playoff spot. You can check it out over at the blog "Alex Ovetjkin" make sure you watch the whole video. Oh and I think the title and sentiment of the post is dead nuts on as well, having sat across the aisle from OV's friends and family seats in Section 102 for four years running there is no doubt in my mind as to whether OV is a legs or other attributes guy when it comes to what catches his eye first.
Here's the thoughts of a great NHL player on the Hart Trophy this year:
If you could award Hart Trophy, of the most valuable player in the NHL, who would you have given it to?
"I have two candidates, Nabokov and Malkin. I don't know who I'd choose. Malkin is carrying Pittsburgh on his shoulders, and Nabokov has played great in San Jose, he is in the second place in victories and has 6 shutout games."
It is a coincidence that you've named two Russians?
"Of course not. The Russians are playing better than anyone right now!"
So much for a guy being self-centered and self promoting, this was his answer in an interview to Soviet press publication Sport-Express by correspondent Slava Malamud.
Washington 4 - Carolina 2
LETS GO CAPS!!!