Friday, December 09, 2005

GameDay: @ Washington (9-16-2, 20 Pts) 7:00 ET

Tonight is the one and only game between these two teams this season. Detroit beat the Caps the last time they played, on December 13th, 2003, a 5-1 decision in which Pavel Datsyuk had two goals and two assists. Pavel's 4 points that night made him the NHL's scoring leader with a total of 37 points (passing Marcus Naslund). It was Niklas Kronwall's third game in the Winged Wheel, as well. The Wings are coming off a solid 5-2 win over the Devils on Tuesday night. The win halted a two-game home losing streak, capping off a three-game homestand before this short trip. Those two losses came against Calgary (2-3) last Thursday and the Islanders (1-2) on Sunday. Detroit is a disappointing 4-5-1 in their last 10 but they are still among the leaders in the NHL standings, behind only the Senators and Rangers (both with 40 points). They are just one point ahead of the Predators for the Central Division lead, however, though they can thank the Rangers for halting Nashville's four-game win streak last night. The Pred's star goalie Tomas Vokoun suffered a sprained knee in the game and will be evaluated today. The Caps are coming off a 5-2 loss to the Predators Wednesday night. It wasn't anything new for a team that has won only once in their last 7 games (5-1 over NYR on the 3rd) and only 9 times in 27 total games this season. They do have one of the most exciting players in the NHL, though, and that's the big reason I'm looking forward to this game. Alexander Ovechkin is making a strong push for the Calder Trophy, with 17 goals and 13 assists (leads all rookies). This kid is very involved in the offense for Washington, taking a whopping 135 shots on net so far this season, twice as many as any of his teammates. The Wings are impressed and know they'll have their hands full tonight as they try to shut him down. Chris Osgood, having redeemed himself with Tuesday night's win, will get another start tonight. If Robert Lang weren't out with a groin injury, the Caps would get their first look at their former player since trading him to Detroit last season. I expect a good game tonight. Alexander Ovechkin should make things exciting and he will put the Wings defense to the test, which is something they need. As a hockey fan, I'd like to see Alex the Great do something spectacular but as a Wings fan, I hope it doesn't result in a Caps win.


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