Two of the hottest teams in the NHL meet in Washington Tuesday night with the highest stakes. For Washington it is simple, win and you’re in, Winnipeg on the other hand is a much longer story. Though a win would put them in very good position, they do still need help. The last time these teams met seemed to be the turning point in the Caps season. Sitting near the bottom of the Eastern Conference Standings Washington won two games on consecutive nights and since then they have been near unbeatable and find themselves with a chance to clinch the Southeast division. Strap in hockey fans as in the words of Bob Cole, This one will be a dandy!
Safe to say in the last month or so the Washington Capitals have been one of the best teams in the league. With an offense that has come alive and a much improved defense that we haven’t seen from Washington in recent years. You cannot talk about the Caps however without mentioning Alex Ovechkin. After a start of the year that left many pundants saying he was no longer an elite player, Ovechkin has exploded and may be the best player in the league right now. He has come from nowhere to take the lead in the NHL scoring race, as well as being a stronger player in his own end. The Caps depend on their superstar and all by himself, he can win a game.
It is getting a little redundant for Winnipeg but once again this is the biggest game in the young franchises history. Winnipeg is within one point of Washington, New York and Ottawa so a win today will improve their chances by an enormous amount. For the Jets it is simple, you have got to play simple, a track meet will not be a path to success for the Jets. Winnipeg needs to bog down the game and slow down the high-octane offense of Washington. Ondrej Pavelec who was sensational against Buffalo will probably have to be even better. The Czech netminder who puts forward a good argument for Jets MVP is a large key to every Jets game. When he’s on his game, bet on the Jets, but if not, their chances do not look great.
Bottom six: Winnipegs 3rd and 4th lines need to be an option for Claude Noel in this game. These lines must be able to hold the Caps offense while still managing some offense.
Ovi: Stop him, and you got a shot.
Slow it down: Don’t run and gun with the Washington Capitals, slow the game down, play along the boards and win the battles.
Ondrej Pavelec (21-18-3) GAA: 2.74 SV% .906
Braden Holtby (21-12-1) GAA: 2.59 SV% .920
Peluso WPG, (Hand) unknown
Slater WPG, (Upper Body) out
Antropov WPG, (Lower Body) unknown
Enstrom WPG, (Mid-Body) out
Bogosian WPG, (concussion) out
Wellwood WPG, (Hand) out
Jokinen WPG, (Lower Body) out
Ward WSH, (Knee) unknown
Laich WSH, (Groin) unknown
Poti WSH, (Back) out
Heart has one opinion, head another, lets just enjoy!