Data is from Objective NHL, NHL.com, behindthenet.ca, and Left Wing Lock.
Colorado @ Washington Capitals
Washington: 18-9-3, 39 points
Leading scorers: Alex Ovechkin (12-23-35 in 30 GP), Alexander Semin (18-15-33 in 30 GP), Nicklas Backstrom (11-21-31 in 30 GP)
Goalies: Michal Neuvirth* (12-4-2, 2.66, .909), Semyon Varlamov (4-3-0, 2.06, .930)
Shot differential: +3.6
5-on-5 shot differential: +3.1
Score close Corsi%: 53.2% (5th)
Adjusted Corsi%: 51.5% (12th)
Notable injuries/illnesses: D Tyler Sloan, F Matt Hendricks, D Jeff Schultz, D John Erskine, D Mike Green, W Alexander Semin, C Nicklas Backstrom, C Boyd Gordon, F Brooks Laich, D John Carlson
Player to watch: LW Alex Ovechkin
Colorado: 14-10-4, 32 points
Leading scorers: Milan Hejduk (11-20-31 in 28), Matt Duchene (9-18-27 in 28), John-Michael Liles (5-21-26 in 28), Paul Stastny (11-14-25 in 28), Chris Stewart (11-14-25 in 23)
Goalies: Craig Anderson* (5-4-2, 2.82, .909), Peter Budaj (9-6-2, 3.11, .895)
5-on-5 shot differential/game: +0.5
Score close Corsi%: 48.3% (21st)
Adjusted Corsi%: 49.3% (21st)
Notable injuries/illnesses: W Milan Hejduk, F Chris Stewart, D Kyle Cumiskey, F Peter Mueller, F T.J. Galiardi, F David van der Gulik
Player to watch: F Tomas Fleischmann
*Starter as predicted by LWL
The Avalanche snapped a losing streak with a win over Atlanta last night, while the Capitals are playing the first leg of a back-to-back, already on a four game losing streak (or "winless" if you prefer).
1) Out...in a flash. Tomas Fleischmann has four points in four games with Colorado. He's still a cruddy Corsi player, and the Avalanche as a group aren't stellar. Expect lots of red lights to turn on while Fleischmann is on the ice.
2) Ovechkin. If Ovechkin is good and Boudreau gets him out against Fleischmann, John-Michael Liles and his high on-ice save percentage had better be backing up Flash or Joe Sacco will be in for a long night, along with the rest of this team. If Ovechkin is good, period, then it'll be a long night for Colorado. Unless...
3) Outplay Anderson. Another good goalie? Oh noes. C'mon Varly/Neuvy, shut 'em down. You're two of the best goalies on the planet when hot.
4) Cycle. Draw power plays. Colorado's PK is under 80%, which bodes well. Plus, cycling builds good habits. You can bet Colorado will drop into a passive forecheck whenever it can.
5) Make good use of the goat. Colorado is only 7-6-3 on the road, with two wins coming in the shootout. Let's hear Caps fan make it tough on the Avalanche by cheering with Goat, and/or sacrificing goats to get Mike Knuble and everyone else scoring goals again.
Regression to the mean happens. We just don't know when. I'm guessing tonight. Capitals 4, Avalanche 2.