Thursday, October 27, 2011

Game Day : Capitals vs Oilers

Washington (7-0-0) vs Edmonton (4-2-2)
Time:     7:30pm
Where:   Rexall Place
Watch:    TSN
Listen:    630 Ched

Projected Line Combinations

Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Smyth - Horcoff - Jones
Paajarvi - Belanger - Gagner
Petrell - Lander - Eager

No word on Wednesday if there would be any changes upfront. With the club winning their last two games, I would guess the answer would be no but it wouldn't surprise me to see Magnus Paajarvi take a turn in the press box. The young Swede played just over eleven minutes against the Canucks, the only player who played less was Ben Eager. They could look at giving Sam Gagner the night off after tweaking his ankle the club playing back to back games. If Gagner were to come out of the lineup, it might not be a bad time to drop Eric Belanger down to play with Eager and Petrell and put the three Swedes together on a line. 

Maybe it could jump starts both Paajarvi and Linus Omark.

Defence Pairings

Gilbert - Smid
Peckham - Potter

Sutton - Barker

Ryan Whitney is definitely out which means Theo Peckham will be drawing back in to the starting lineup. Foot speed could be an issue against the Caps with Peckham and Sutton both in against the most dangerous team in the league. 


With Edmonton playing tonight and tomorrow in Colorado, Nikolai Khabibulin is going to get one of the two nights off, it is just a matter of which one. You would think playing Devan Dubnyk against the undefeated Caps would be a little unfair, after not starting for over a week, but it they may want to save Khabby for the divisional game against the Avs. Honestly, it could go either way but I would bet on Khabibulin to get the call against Washington.

Edmonton Notes
  • From the sounds of things at yesterday skate, it sounds as though Whitney will be out at least a week or two with a sprained knee. Look for the Oilers to call Jeff Petry back up before the club plays Colorado. They will need to add another puck mover into the mix with Whitney out and it wouldn't surprise me to see Andy Sutton given a night off  in the very near future. He was rather sluggish against the Canucks and it may be time to let him recharge his battery for a game or two.
  • Nothing new on Ales Hemsky or Darcy Hordichuk. Hemsky was supposed to be a week off ice and then a week to train but tonight marks exactly teo weeks since he felt pain in Minnesota and he has not seen the ice since. Looks like the talented winger will miss three weeks of action, at the very least.

Washington Notes 

  • After a less then steller debut, in which he allowed three goals from behind the goal line, goaltender Tomas Vokoun has been lights out for the Capitals. The steal of this summers free agent market, is currently 6-0 with a 1.80 GAA and a .940 SV% and those number include the five goals he allowed against Tampa Bay in his debut. That means he has allowed six goals against in his previous five starts. Could be another low scoring affair at Rexall Place with two of the hottest goalies in league sit to do battle.
  • Niklas Bacstrom leads the team in scoring with 10 points but nearly everyone has got in to the act for the Caps. They have 17 players on the roster that have at least two points on the season, compare that to Edmonton who is sitting with all of 8 and you get a sense out how potent the Washington attack has been.
  • Edmonton will catch a break tonight, as defenceman Mike Green is expected to sit out tonight's game with a sore ankle. Green is coming off a two goal, four point night performance against the Detroit Red Wings and he will leave a big hole on the Caps blueline and power play.
  • Washington's third line of newly acquired Joel Ward, Brooks Laich and former Oiler Jason Chimera have been down right scary this season. The line has given the Caps a dimension they have always seemed to lack. They play hard every shift, forecheck like mad and bang bodies all over the ice. They have also managed to chip in on the score sheet as Chimera already has 4 goals on the season while Ward and Laich have four points a piece. The Oilers top line should expect a steady diet of the trio throughout the night.

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