Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gameday: at Atlanta, Jan. 26 - Bradley, Varlamov Return

Matt Bradley drives to the net in Ottawa last month. (AP)
The Capitals are in Atlanta tonight for a big game with the division rival Thrashers. Atlanta comes into tonight's game in 8th place in the Eastern Conference with 55 points, 8 behind the Capitals.  The Caps currently hold fifth in the Conference, with 63 points. Both squads are coming off tough losses: the Capitals 2-1 to the Rangers Monday and the Thrashers 7-1 at the hands of the Lightning Sunday.  The Lightning also won again yesterday, shutting out the Maple Leafs for their fifth consecutive victory.  With that win, the Lightning moved four points clear at the top of the division, having played one more game than the Capitals.

Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay will roll with Ondrej Pavelec in goal tonight, the Czech's eleventh straight start in nets.  Pavelec has fallen off a bit in the last three weeks after his ridiculous December, but he is still an excellent goalie and always seems to bring his best to the table against the Capitals.  The Capitals did manage to catch a break yesterday, however, when it was announced that Thrashers star defenseman Tobias Enstrom will miss 2-4 weeks with a broken finger.  Enstrom is the quarterback on the Atlanta power play, besides one of their best defensemen, and his absence will hurt his team.

For the Capitals, Semyon Varlamov is set to return to the ice as he will get the start in goal after a three game absence.  Matt Bradley is also expected to play after a month long absence, which means DJ King will join Brian Fahey as a healthy scratch this evening.  Brads' return should be huge for the Capitals, as he is a leader both on and off the ice and one of their best defensive forwards. Alexander Semin did not make the trip like some thought he might, and will not play tonight.  He is still expected to be ready after the All-Star break.

That's all for now.  Puck drops 7:07-ish.

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