Sorry for the tardiness of this preview. My internet disappeared last night in the middle of writing this. Anyways, the Capitals are in town tonight, which pretty much means Ovechkin Ovechkin Ovechkin. Oh wait, they also have the other two top scorers in the league. On the same line...
Wings offense vs. Capitals Defense:
The Capitals defense is far more scoring oriented than defense oriented. Led by Norris trophy finalist Mike Green, the Caps talked earlier in the week about re-committing themselves to defending. I'd expect that the Caps to play on their heels a bit in the beginning of the game, not wanting to join the rush too much and get away from what they worked on in practice. The Wings need to come out strong early in order to win this game. Getting the first goal could prove to be crucial in this game, especially against an offense as potent as Washington's.
The big news for the Wings offense is the tremendous amount of line switching due to the loss of Johan Franzen. Here's how the Wings will look tonight against the Caps:
The Wings would be smart to try and take advantage of the pairing of Dats and Z. With the Wings getting the last change, there could be times where Washington won't have the defensive pairing they want to defend against this line. Besides, the fact of the matter is that it'll be hard to account for both of them simultaneously anyways.
Capitals offense vs. Wings defense:
No reason to beat around the bush here, as this is about as challenging as it gets. The Capitals have the top three scorers in the league in Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin. The bright spot here is that the Caps don't have a great third or fourth line. If the Wings can play to their potential, they should be...ok. Not great, but ok. I don't think they'll be able to totally shut down Washington, but now would be a great time to play responsibily on defense.
Chris Osgood played fantastically against Chicago, probably better than he did during the whole regular season last year. There's no reason not to have the utmost confidence in him right now, even facing the most potent offense in the league. He faced an unusual amount of shots against the Hawks (over 30) and only allowed 2 goals, so things are looking good. Hopefully the Wings defense can help out and reduce the number of shots he faces tonight.
Not a whole lot to say here. I don't even know who the started will be tonight as both Jose Theodore and Semyon Varlamov have split time in goal and neither have been spectacular, as evidenced by the Caps averaging 3.75 goals allowed per game. The only thing I really know; Varlamov's rookie cards are worth a lot of money. Seriously. That's it.
Very well thought out, very analytical score prediction:
Wings 3 - Captials 4