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Saturday Roundup - Caps 3, Habs 0 - Gamenight: Caps @ Jackets

[AP Recap - Game Summary - Event Summary - Postgame - AP Preview - Preview]

Due to a prior commitment, I missed last night's game and won't try to recap it, so it's on you guys to tell me in the comments the good and the bad of what went down.

The Columbus Blue Jackets will always hold a special place in the hearts and minds of Caps fans, as it was the Jax against whom Alexander Ovechkin made his NHL debut. The AP described his performance on that night:

His first NHL check was so fierce it dislodged a support beam. He refused to let his team lose, twice answering with goals less than 90 seconds after the opponents took the lead. And when his face appeared on the large scoreboard, he stuck out his tongue and flashed a charismatic smile.

AO's second game against Columbus was similarly special:

Alexander Ovechkin and the young Washington Capitals are maturing—and that is definitely not good news for the rest of the NHL.

Ovechkin padded his NHL-leading goal total by scoring twice, including the winner in overtime, to lead the Capitals back from a two-goal deficit to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 on Tuesday night.

One can only guess what Alex might have in store for the Jackets tonight.

On the Columbus side of things, they've gotten an influx of young talent, as Derick Brassard and Jakub Voracek (second and fourth, respectively, among rookie scorers) have joined Rick Nash up front to provide some scoring punch (with 2008's second overall forward selected, Nikita Filatov, as well as top prospect Maksim Mayorov waiting in the wings in the AHL), and rookie netminder Steve Mason looks to be well on his way to being "The Next Carey Price":

2008 - Steve Mason 7 427 4 2 1 1 17 2.39 185 168 .908 1

Despite an improved offense, however, the Jackets are dead last in the League with a woeful power play that's only scoring on 10.2% of its chances. And despite a young stud goaltender, the team is fifth from the bottom of the League in goals against average. As you might suspect, all of this adds up to a mediocre record and a beatable team for a Caps squad playing its 15th game of the month and first of four straight against teams in the bottom third of the League standings.

Look for Brent Johnson and his sparkling 9-1-2/1.96/.919 career mark against Columbus to be between the pipes for the visitors, and for the under-manned Caps to keep up the impressive and gutsy effort.

Just one request - no Bill McCreary, please.

P.S. How about a better effort in tonight's game thread? You guys are embarrassing me.