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Good news, Caps fans - you can go to bed early tonight without wasting your time staying up for west coast hockey, as Canucks.com's "The Insider" column implies that the Caps shouldn't even bother showing up for tonight's game. In an article entitled "Luongo's Capitalizing History," the author opens with this salvo:

You could excuse the Washington Capitals if they loaded up their gear after the game in Denver and headed straight for Saturday’s game in Edmonton without ever entering Vancouver air space.

They won’t, of course, because the National Hockey League schedule says they’ll be here to face the Canucks on Friday. But given the way Roberto Luongo absolutely owned the Caps last season, you couldn’t blame them, if they had no interest whatsoever in being in the same province, let alone the same rink, as the new Canucks netminder later this week.

Now, it's beyond dispute that Luongo had a great year against the Caps in 2005-06, going 7-0 with a 1.96 goals against average and a .947 save percentage. But for his career - his "capitalizing history" - he is 13-9-3 against Washington, or, put another way, he is 6-9-3 against the Caps outside of last year's anomolous record against a team early in it's rebuilding.

Roberto Luongo is a great goalie, but he can be beaten. Heck, it's happened four times already this year, including once against the team the Caps beat just two nights ago (and one more time than his opposite number, Olie Kolzig, has been beaten so far this season). Further, this isn't last year's Caps team heading into GM Place - last year's Caps were 23rd in the NHL in goals per game; this year's version enters tonight 2nd in the League in that category.

In the past three weeks, the Caps have shown that they aren't scared of anyone and I couldn't be more sure that they're not afraid of Luongo, the Olsen Twins or the rest of the Canuckleheads. As any statistician will readily tell you, numbers can be twisted to say a lot of things, but the only number that really matters is Luongo's 0-0 record against the Caps in 2006-07. In all likelihood, that number will change tonight, and it won't be because the Caps failed to show for the game.

(Hat tip to antix for the article)