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!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Gameday: at Colorado, Dec. 17

Captain, my captain...
The Washington Capitals are in Denver, Colorado this evening to take on the Avalanche as they look to build upon their tight win against the Jets Thursday night.  The Caps, who have won four of their last six, are nonetheless 4-6 over their last ten and enter tonight's game with a 16-13-1 record. That gives them 33 standings points, which places them second in the Southeast Division, five points back on the Panthers, and in eighth in the Eastern Conference, holding on to the final playoff spot.  Colorado, on the other hand, have really struggled since their hot start, and are 5-5 in their last ten, including a 5-4 loss to San Jose on Thursday night.  They have a 14-17-1 record, which gives them 29 standings points and places them last in the Northwest Division and thirteenth in the Western Conference.  This is the one and only meeting between these two clubs this season.

It is unknown at this time who the Avalanche will go with in goal, as Joe Sacco did not hold a practice on Friday.  Bothe Avalance goalies have been poor so far this year, but Semyon Varlamov was very bad in Colorado's net on Thursday night, giving up 3 goals in the third period as the Avs let a 4-2 lead slip away.  Will J-S Giguere get the call or will Varly get a chance to prove that George McPhee didn't totally fleece Colorado?  We'll know after the morning skate.  Outside the crease, the Avalanche only have three minor injuries.  Brandon Yip, Ryan Wilson, and Peter Mueller are all on the mend with long-term injuries and will not play. Winger Chuck Kobasew is questionable.

For the Caps, Dale Hunter will give the tap on the pads to Michal Neuvirth following his excellent 26 save shutout of Winnipeg on Thursday.  Even with his shutout, Neuvirth's numbers have been less than stellar so far this year: a 4-5-1 record, 3.38 GAA, .885 save percentage, and the aforementioned shutout.  On the injury front, defenseman Mike Green is expected to miss another game with his groin injury, though he should have joined the team as of this morning.  Matt Hendricks, who missed more than a week with a knee injury, is slated to return, and either Cody Eakin or Mathieu Perreualt will be benched in his place.  Jeff Schultz seems certain to be healthy scratched for the third consecutive game despite the fact that he is much better than Roman Hamrlik.  Oops.  Did I say that out loud?

Puck drops for this one 9:09-ish.

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