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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!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gameday: vs. St. Louis, Nov. 29

Welcome to the thunderdome.  Win or go home.
The Washington Capitals will welcome the St. Louis Blues to Verizon Center Tuesday night as they attempt to rebound from their poor November so far under brand new head coach Dale Hunter.  The Capitals enter tonight's game losers of two in a row with 12-9-1 record, which gives them 25 standings points.  Those 25 points are good for second in the Southeast Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference.  The Blues, who made a head coaching change of their own earlier this season after a poor start, are now 13-8-2, are 7-2-1 in their last ten games, and have won three in a row under Ken Hitchcock.  They have 28 standings points, which places them third in the highly competitive Central Division and fifth in the Western Conference.  This is the one and only meeting between these two teams this season.

The Blues will start Jaroslav Halak in goal, leaving the NHL's best goalie in terms of winning percentage, save percentage, and goals against average (Brian Elliott) on the bench.  We all know why Halak is infamous to Caps fans, but on the year the Slovak netminder is 3-7-2 with a 2.57 GAA, .895 save percentage, and one shutout.  He made 25 saves his last time out, a 3-2 loss to the Kings on November 2nd.  St. Louis will be missing two of their top forwards for this game, as David Perron and Andy McDonald are both still out with concussions that have kept them from game action for a long period. Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo will also be absent because of a hamstring injury, while fellow blueliner Kent Huskins is out with an ankle injury that required surgery earlier this season.

With a new man in charge, speculating on a starting goalie for the Capitals is pointless, though it seems that Tomas Vokoun will earn the nod.  Both goaltenders have been very poor over the last month.  Vokoun let in five goals on 28 shots in his last outing, a loss in Buffalo, while Michal Neuvirth allowed six goals on 33 shots in his last outing, a 6-3 loss to the Rangers inside Verizon Center.  Both have season GAAs above 2.8 and save percentages below .906, and it remains to be seen who Hunter will call upon to right the ship.  Mike Green, who skated Monday for the second time since getting hurt (again) on November 11th, is out, as is Jay Beagle, who has missed the last six weeks with a concussion.  John Erskine, who had missed the last week or so with a shoulder injury, will return to the lineup, meaning Jeff Schultz is scratched. Cody Eakin, who was the healthy scratch among the forwards last game, will return to the lineup in the place of Mathieu Perreault.

Puck drops for this one 7:08-ish.  Um, check back later.

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