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Friday Roundup/Gamenight: Devils @ Caps

[NHL.com Preview - Vogel's WashingtonCaps.com Preview - Official Gameday Thread]

Caps fans, brace yourself for exciting neutral-zone-clogging action as the Devils are in town (I know, Shayne, three Cups, etc.). For their part, the Caps have picked a bad time to be banged up, as they embark on a stretch of seven games in 11 days (including a pair of games against the Devils and games against the Leafs, Sabres, Habs, Rangers and Coyotes as well). They got no favors last night from their Southeast Divisional cohorts, all of whom won, with Atlanta doing the Caps the bonus kick-in-the-chops of giving away a point to Kansas City Pittsburgh. Then again, you didn't expect a playoff run to be easy, did you?

With The Donald, John Erskine and Matt Bradley all presumably out of the lineup, watch for the team's toughness to be exhibited in ways other than raw pugilism. Either that or watch the Cam Janssens and Darcy Tuckers of the world take runs at AO for the next few nights - it's up to you, Brian Sutherby et. al. And with Chris Clark (possibly) and Bryan Muir (likely) also out, other guys will have to step up - with adversity comes opportunity - and now would be a good time for guys like Ben Clymer and Steve Eminger to shine and help lead the Caps to victory. If I may ask for one more present on this, the last night of Hannukah, it would be for Matt Pettinger to return to the scoresheet. Or this. But probably a couple of goals from Princess.

I'll have more later (workload permitting), but wanted to note that I went to my first practice yesterday morning out at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex at the Ballston Commons mall. I highly recommend checking it out if you get a chance, even if it means playing hooky from work some day. An interesting (to me) epilogue to that blurb is that I found myself behind Olie Kolzig driving home. He can't live more than five minutes from me in Potomac (though I resisted the urge to full-on stalk him all the way to his house) and drives one of the sweetest cars I've ever seen (a $100+K 2005 or 2006 Maserati Quattroporte).

Daily Awards
  • Southeast Division Player of the Day: Ilya Kovalchuk (G, 2A, +1, 12 SOG)
  • Hart: Tim Thomas (39-save shutout win)
  • Ross: Ilya Kovalchuk, Jason Pominville (3 points each)
  • Norris: Paul Ranger (GWG, A, +2, 2 SOG)
  • Vezina: Tim Thomas (39-save shutout win)
  • Richard: Jason Pominville, Ales Kotalik, Maxim Afinogenov (2G each)
  • Calder: David Backes (G, +2, 4 SOG)
  • Aiken: Chris Mason (L, 5 goals allowed on 26 shots against in 39:52 of work)