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!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gameday: vs. Chicago, Mar. 13

Braden Holtby will face his toughest test of the year today.
The Washington Capitals will welcome the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks to Verizon Center this afternoon as they look to extend their recent run of excellent play. The Capitals come into today's game with 88 points in 69 games played, which is good for first in the Southeast Division and second in the Eastern Conference, coming off their 2-1 win over the Hurricanes on Friday.  The Blackhawks, who have won eight of their last ten, come into today with 81 points in 85 games, which places them second in the Central Division and fifth in the ridiculously packed Western Conference.  The Hawks lost to Tampa Bay in a shootout their last time out, 4-3.  This is the one and only regular season meeting between these two teams this season.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville will give rookie goalie Corey Crawford the start in goal for his squad. Crawford, who was expected to backup veteran Marty Turco this year, has been a revelation for Chicago, winning 26 games this year to go along with a 2.26 GAA, .917 Save%, and 3 shutouts in 43 games.  Crawford has proved that he is one of the best goalies in the league this year, and will be tough for the Caps.  On the injury front, defenseman Brian Campbell is a game-time decision for the Hawks with a lower body injury.

For Washington, Bruce Boudreau will roll with Braden Holtby in nets for the third consecutive game.  Holtby has only given up 1 goal in his last 140 minutes of play at the NHL level, and has won the last three games for the Capitals.  On the season, Holtby has seven wins, a 1.85 GAA, a .934 Save%, and a shutout in eleven games played.  Outside the crease, Washington is expected to be without star centerman Nicklas Backstrom for the third consecutive game as he works his way back from a broken thumb.  As a result, no lineup changes are expected from Boudreau, which means that Tyler Sloan, DJ King, and Jay Beagle will remain healthy scratches for Washington.

Puck drops for this one 12:40-ish, and remember it is being broadcast on national TV by NBC.  Check back after the game.

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