Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Preview: Panthers @ Capitals

I added in JLikens' most recent adjusted Corsi% count from Objective NHL. The most recent count is from November 30.

Florida Panthers @ Washington Capitals
Washington: 18-8-3, 39 points
Leading scorers: Alex Ovechkin (12-23-35 in 29 GP), Alexander Semin (18-15-33 in 29 GP), Nicklas Backstrom (11-21-31 in 29 GP)
Goalies: Michal Neuvirth (12-4-2, 2.66, .909), Semyon Varlamov (4-2-0, 1.92, .934)
Shot differential: +3.6
5-on-5 shot differential: +3.4
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
Player to watch: C Nicklas Backstrom

Leading scorers: David Booth (7-9-16 in 26), Michael Frolik (5-10-15 in 25), Stephen Weiss (7-6-13 in 25), D Brian McCabe (2-11-13 in 26), D Dennis Wideman (2-10-12 in 26)
Goalies: Tomas Vokoun (10-10-0, 2.58, .917), Scott Clemmensen (2-4-0, 2.79, .910)
Shot differential/game: +1.4
5-on-5 shot differential/game: +1.5
Score close Corsi%: 52.6% (7th)
Adjusted Corsi%: 52.2% (8th)
Notable injuries/illnesses: F Cory Stillman, F Radek Dvorak, F Rostislav Olesz, F Chris Higgins, F Byron Bitz, F Mark Cullen, D Bryan Allen
Player to watch: C Stephen Weiss

Tonight the Capitals get their first look at a revamped Panthers team. What? Well, they own at even strength in scoring chances and Corsi. Washington has lost three in a row, while Florida is coming off a thrilling overtime win over Colorado.

Is this our first look at future Cap Stephen Weiss this season? I sure hope so.

1) Mike Green. cold. Yeah, I'm not sure how much is on him and how much is on the forwards, but regardless, getting Green on the board in some form besides PIMs would be nice.

2) Solid defensive effort from everyone. This may seem like an obvious one for every night. Florida has good scoring balance and the Capitals need to make sure that they not only shut down Booth and Weiss, but guys on the third and fourth lines as well.

3) Crash the net. There's a strong case to be made that Tomas Vokoun is the best goalie in the world right now. How do you beat him? Garbage goals? I don't know. If decides to get hot (like the last two goalies the Caps have faced)...yuck.

4) Prevent scoring chances. Even if it means taking penalties. Florida can score a pretty good clip at 5-on-5, but their PP is atrocious. I bet Alexander Semin can outscore the Cats' PP. I don't doubt he will, actually.

5) Five feet of forecheck. Okay, so Mathieu Perreault isn't that short, but he is rather small. That being said, in the first few games of call-ups, he's generally fearless, playing more like Jason Chimera with hands than Keith Aucoin. With Alexander Semin and Brooks Laich on his flanks, if Perreault gives another great effort, the Capitals' second line should shine, regardless of who faces them from the other end (it doesn't help that Florida is banged up).

Losing streaks have to end sometime. Right? Right??? RIGHT??? I may look like an idiot for this, and I will feel terrible if I'm completely off, but I don't think the Capitals are going to get the easy win against Florida like they would last year: #needslessVokoun. I also think Semyon Varlamov is getting the start and he's hot. I can't see Florida beating up on the Caps. Nothing like the "gimmick" to get our heroes back on track. Capitals 4, Panthers 3 (SO).

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