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Saturday Roundup/Gamenight: Bolts @ Caps

[AP Preview - Preview]

Since we last saw our friends from Tampa back on October 24, the Bolts have gone 3-5-1, though they do come into town on the heels of their first road win of the year, a very impressive 5-1 win at Raleigh. Hopefully that slaked their thirst for victory away from home and they'll revert to form as one of the League's worst road teams. A win tonight would give the Caps and Lightning identical 7-9-1 records and could, believe it or not, vault D.C. into second place in the Southeast Division.

In his last two games - both wins - Tampa goaltender Johan Holmqvist has saved 62 of the 64 shots he faced, but the jury's still very much out on the Finn Swede, who had gone 0-4-1 with a 4.26 goals against average and an save percentage of .849 in his previous five starts. Plus, he looks like Clay Aiken. In his career against the Caps, Holmer is 3-2-0 with a 3.78 GAA and a .847 save percentage - not terribly intimidating numbers. And if Torts goes with Marc Denis? He's 4-4-1, 3.76, .879 against the Caps in his career and 0-3-0, 4.10, .855 so far this season. In other words, the Caps - yes, even the Caps - should have no trouble scoring some goals tonight.

Of course, the key to beating the Bolts continues to be effective containment of the triplets, a task that's always easier said than done. Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, their linemate Vaclav Prospal and Brad Richards are all among the League's Top 25 scorers. They'll get their points. But if it's one or two apiece, there isn't a heckuva lot of depth of scoring on Tampa (sound familiar?), and as long as one of the big (or little) guns doesn't go off, it's anyone's game.

A visit from the Bolts was good for what ailed the Caps a couple of weeks back when the Caps were riding a four-game losing streak, and there's no reason to think that they can't serve as a similar tonic tonight. See you there tonight.

Why The Lightning Will Win:
(coming soon)
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

I was on Ice Sheet duty today (as I am every Saturday) over at FanHouse, so head on over to see what else is going on around the League.

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Henrik Sedin (2G, including the OT game-winner, +2 in 2-1 win)
  • Ross: 12 players tied with 2 points each
  • Norris: Nicklas Lidstrom (2A, +2, 3 SOG, 2 blocked shots)
  • Vezina: Andrew Raycroft (30-save shutout win)
  • Richard: Dan Cleary, Henrik Sedin (2G each)
  • Calder: Ondrej Pavelec (W, 36 saves on 37 shots against)
  • Aiken: Tomas Vokoun (L, 4 goals allowed on 27 shots against)