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!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Gameday: at Phoenix, Feb. 14

Can Michal Neuvirth reverse the Caps' fortunes tonight?
The Washington Capitals are in Phoenix, Arizona, tonight to take on the Coyotes in a critical game for their psyche and their playoff standing.  The Capitals come into tonight's game with 68 standings points in 56 games, which is good second place in the Southeast Division and fifth place in the Eastern Conference.  The Coyotes, on the other hand, currently have 67 points in 57 games, which puts them in third place in the Pacific Division and sixth place in the Western Conference.  The last time these two teams met, January of last season, the Capitals won 4-2 at Verizon Center.  This will be the only meeting between the two teams this season.

Coyotes coach Dave Tippett is expected to roll with Ilya Bryzgalov in nets tonight for his team.  The 30 year old Russian netminder is having a bit of a down season by his standards with a 2.58 GAA and .917 save percentage, but is white hot over his last four starts: a 1.00 GAA, a .961 SP, and two shutouts, all in Coyotes victories.  Bryz stopped 30 of 33 last year when these two teams met; the fourth goal for the Caps was an empty-netter.

For the Capitals, Michal Neuvirth returns to the blue paint tonight as he will be given the start in goal by coach Bruce Boudreau.  Neuvy is 1-0 against the Coyotes in his career; he stopped 28 of 30 shots in the Capitals' victory last season.  Michal is coming off a 34-save, 2-0 shutout loss to the Sharks one week ago today.  Outside of the crease, both Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin did not skate this morning but are expected to play in tonight's game.  The lines have not changed from yesterday's practice, which means that Mike Knuble stays on the top line for tonight's game.  Eric Fehr took part in the morning skate in a plain white practice jersey, indicating that he is that much closer to a return as he is cleared for contact.  That is definitely good news for Caps fans.

Puck drops 8:07-ish.  Check back after the game.

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