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!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gameday: at NY Islanders, Jan. 20

Nicklas Backstrom takes the ice at the Coliseum last season.
The Washington Capitals are on Long Island for tonight's matchup with the Islanders, who are in 14th place in the Eastern Conference with 34 points.  The Capitals are coming off of a 3-2 overtime loss in Philadelphia on Tuesday where they managed to salvage a point with 40 seconds of desperate play halfway through the third period. The Isles, however, are coming off of a loss to the only team worse than them in the East, the Devils, who they dropped a 5-2 decision to on Monday.  Remarkably, the Capitals are dead last in the NHL in first period goals scored with a meager 28; however, the Islanders are the only team close to them, as they have only scored 29.  Should be a doozy of a first period (now that I've said that, expect records to be set in the opening 20 minutes).  In their only other meeting of the season, the Capitals needed a late goal from Nicklas Backstrom to salvage a 2-1 victory at Verizon Center in mid October.

The Islanders will start mercurial franchise goaltender Rick DiPietro in nets tonight as he makes his return from an illness that forced him to miss the Isles' last game.  DP has, like the rest of his team, struggled this year to the tune of a 3.43 GAA and a .892 save percentage.  However, he has the potential to win a game for his team on any given night, so the Capitals should not take this game lightly (for that matter, they shouldn't take any game lightly).

Braden Holtby will make his fifth start, and sixth appearance, in the Capitals goal tonight, getting the nod from coach Bruce Boudreau.  Holtby has been decidedly bad this season for the Caps, with a 3.84 GAA and .845 save percentage, and has not appeared in the NHL since mid November.  He is, however, among the league leaders in the AHL in every goaltending category.  Semyon Varlamov did skate this morning and it does not look like his injury is as bad as initially feared.  He will be able to back up Holtby for this evening's contest.

Outside the crease, all 18 Capitals skaters on the road trip practiced this morning and all are expected to play as Andrew Gordon was returned to Hershey yesterday afternoon.  That means DJ King will stay in the lineup, which I cannot understand, considering King did nothing outside of get in a fight (he literally had zeroes across the board) in the Caps' last game.  Maybe give Gordo another shot?  The kid has impressed...

Puck drops 7:09-ish.  Check back later.

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