Thursday, October 28, 2010

After Stellar Start, Road Trip Continues Out West

WHEN: 10/28/2010 - 8:00PM EDT 
WHERE: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN
 RADIO: 1500 & 820AM
6-3-0 (12pts)

3-3-2 (8pts)

Apologize for the late start and the fact that this is only going to be a very quick and dirty pregame.

First and foremost, Congratulations to Caps goaltender Michael Neuvirth for earning the NHL's 2nd star of the day for his perfect, 29 save effort and 1st career shutout in Carolina yesterday evening against the Hurricanes.  Neuvirth has continued his string of very strong performances and is now creating some conversation about exactly who is going to end up with the #1 position between the pipes this season.  So far so good for Neuvirth to this point. Let's hope this continues, and when Varlamov does come back, we have TWO star goaltenders to create the kind of problem every team would probably envy.  Neuvirth looks to get the start once again this evening in Minnesota.

Eventually, the Capitals first line is going to have to come through and start scoring with some regularity. While they are contributing some to the offence, They have been fairly quiet of late, at least until last night. Finally the first line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Knuble which had been held scoreless for four games, finally broke through with a total of 5 points night. 2 goals from Backstrom, 2 assists from Knuble, and 1 helper for Ovechkin. Hopefully that is only the beginning. The Washington Post reported they were a combined minus-7 rating heading into this game and were plus-21 after the same time frame last year. Scoring often will go a long way in helping the top trio in this department.  We know they can do it and last night we saw flashes of it, but so far this year they just have not quite looked like the offencive power house they did last season. That said, the over all effort of the Caps as a whole last night was fairly consistent. If the Capitals can continue and/ or build upon the good game last night, they should be in fairly good shape on this road trip.

The Wild look to start Caps Backstrom's Finnish namesake Nicklas Backstrom in goal this evening once again. The Wild are looking to snap a two game losing streak which could make them a bit more of a challenge than the Hurricanes were last night. Of course we're hoping that losing streak extends to 3 games after our Caps visit St. Paul tonight.

I'm leaving you with the Caps morning skate report filed this morning by Mike Vogel.

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Which team is the Capitals biggest threat in the Southeast division this season?