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Wednesday Roundup/Gamenight: Avs @ Caps

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[AP Preview - WashingtonCaps.com Preview]

When last we saw the Avalanche, Mike Green was tooling his way through their entire team, Alex Ovechkin was blasting Karlis Skrastins through the glass, and Olie Kolzig was stopping a ridiculous 45 shots on goal en route to a 5-3 Caps win. The last time Colorado visited D.C. was even longer ago, all the way back in March of 2003 (a 2-1 Caps win thanks to a Sergei Berezin goal. Seriously).

Over the years, Washington has been inhospitable to tonight's visitors. In fact, since moving from Quebec to Denver, the Avs haven't won a single game in regulation in our nation's capital (both of their wins have come in OT, to go along with four losses and a tie).

If more recent history is your thing, Colorado has the fewest road wins in the Western Conference on the season. And if you're into really recent history, the Avs dropped a game last night in Detroit, their first stop on a five-game road swing that will take them to each of the Southeast Division cities other than Atlanta.

And despite a horrendous power-play and a bad penalty kill, the Avalanche are hanging right around the eight-spot out West (of course, a good week and they're looking at home-ice advantage in the first round - viva parity!), and lament as we might the Caps' current injury issues, the Avs are without Joe Sakic and Ryan Smyth (among others) - that's 2,203 career NHL points in the press box for those of you keeping score at home.

So as long as Paul Stastny doesn't do to the Caps what his father and uncle did nearly 27 years ago, there's no reason the Caps can't send the Avs South still searching for (and hopefully finding) their first points on this road trip.

Why The Avalanche Will Win:
"The Avs are looking to comeback from an embarrassing loss to the dreaded Red Wings, and the Caps are the perfect team to make a comeback against. [Peter] Budaj should get the start, the Avs are hot against the Eastern Conference, and it's time for the team to win without the help of Joe Sakic and Ryan Smyth, both on long time IR.

If the lack of defense of Alex Ovechkin can be exploited, and he can be kept in check, the Avs should rule the game. Or not." - Jerseys and Hockey Love

"The Avs will certainly beat the Capitals. Our coach has come up with a super secret plan that can't be stopped: he dresses eight defensemen and everyone knows eight defensemen is more than six defensemen. With two more defensemen than all the other teams, how could we lose?" - In The Cheap Seats

"The Avs will probably not win against the Capitals because Coach Joel Quenneville will probably start Jose Theodore in net---AGAIN. And also because the whole team is playing like crap lately." - Mile High Hockey
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

Eric Fehr may play tonight (happy, Jan?).... Will Alex Ovechkin go back to Russia to be a whale in a fishbowl? In a word, no.... Go Canucks Go?... More Karl Alzner.

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Chris Gratton (2G, A, +3, 3 SOG)
  • Ross: Chris Gratton, Erik Johnson, Andy McDonald, Scott Hartnell, David Legwand (3 points each)
  • Norris: Erik Johnson (3A, +2, 2 hits)
  • Vezina: Dominik Hasek (19-save shutout win)
  • Richard: Jeff Carter, Chris Gratton, Andy McDonald (2G each)
  • Calder: Erik Johnson (3A, +2, 2 hits)
  • Aiken: Jason LaBarbera (L, 3 goals allowed on 7 shots against in just 6:40 of work)