Caps Entertain Panthers in Matinee Match
Jan. 20 vs. Florida Panthers at Verizon Center
Time: 1:00 pm
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: WTEM 980 AMFlorida Panthers (17-22-10)Washington Capitals (20-20-7)
Exactly a week after they turned in one of their poorest performances in recent memory against the Florida Panthers in Sunrise, the Capitals have a chance for redemption when they host the Swamp Cats at Verizon Center in a Saturday matinee contest. The opening face-off is at 1 p.m.
Although the Caps arguably played better than the record would indicate during the four-game trip, they came home with a 1-3 record. Washington ended the trip on a high note with a 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night in Raleigh. That victory ended a six-game road skid and lifted Washington back to the break-even point. The Caps played their style of game against the Hurricanes and were rewarded with two points.
?We try to sell 60 minutes of hockey and consistency,? says Caps coach Glen Hanlon of his team?s brand of hockey. ?We call it ?Caps Hockey? inside the room, and it?s just sort of an emotional, puck pressure game from start to finish.?
The Caps? defense played a strong game, Olie Kolzig made a number of clutch saves, and the Washington attack scored goals at key moments in Thursday night?s game against Carolina. The Caps hope to bottle that formula and bring it to the rink with them on Saturday when Florida visits.
?When we win games, no matter what the scores are, that?s how we play,? says Caps captain Chris Clark of his team?s performance against Carolina. ?We don?t have the luxury of going out and just hoping to win and hoping for pucks to go in. When we win it?s always a battle. We?re always the first guys on the puck and we?re hitting and skating.?
Washington defeated the Panthers in each of the first two meetings between the two clubs this season; the Panthers? lone win over the Capitals was last Saturday?s 7-3 win at BankAtlantic Center. The Caps outscored the Panthers by a combined 9-2 in those two early season victories over the Cats.
Thursday?s win was Washington?s 20th of the season, and it came on Jan. 18. The last time a Capitals team won its 20th game before the start of the New Year was in 1992-93. That year?s model notched its 20th victory on Dec. 29 to lift its record to 20-16-3.
The Capitals? power play is connecting at a rate of 17.5%, ranking 17th in the NHL. Washington?s penalty killing corps ranks 20th in the circuit with a kill rate of 80.7%.
The Panthers come into Saturday?s game trailing the Capitals by just three points for fourth place in the Southeast Division standings and 13th place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Since their 7-3 triumph over the Caps last Saturday, the Panthers have suffered a pair of 3-2 setbacks. The first came against Carolina in overtime, and the second was at the hands of the Maple Leafs on Thursday night.
The Panthers are 2-3-3 since the start of the New Year. The Cats have yet to put together a winning streak of more than three games in 2006-07.
Florida is the only team in the NHL without a win in overtime or the shootout this season. The Panthers are 0-4 in overtime and 0-6 in the shootout during the 2006-07 campaign.
Florida features the league?s fifth best power play with a 19.5% success rate. The Panthers are 13th in the NHL in penalty killing with a kill rate of 83.2%.