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!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gameday: vs. NY Rangers, Dec. 28

Time to pick it up...
The Washington Capitals will welcome the New York Rangers to Verizon Center on Wednesday night as they look to break their two game losing streak and build desperately needed momentum heading into the new year.  Washington enters tonight's game 5-4-1 in their last ten, including Monday's embarrassing loss in Buffalo, and overall is 17-15-2 for 36 standings points.  Those 36 points place them third in the Southeast Division, seven points back of the Panthers, and eleventh overall in the East, three points out of the final playoff spot.  The Rangers, on the other hand, are on fire, compiling a 7-2-1 record over their last ten while being 22-8-4 overall for 48 standings points.  Those 48 points lead both the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference.  This is the second of four meetings between these two clubs this season; New York smacked the Caps on the day after Thanksgiving inside Verizon by a score of 6-3.

John Tortorella will go with his backup, Martin Biron, in goal against the Caps tonight.  Though Biron is certainly number two behind Henrik Lundqvist, he has been spectacular this year nonetheless: a 7-1-0 record, 1.84 GAA, .933 save percentage, and one shutout.  He is 11-8-1 against Washington in his career, but has never faced them as a member of the Rangers.  Outside the crease, the Rangers are missing three players to long term injuries: defensemen Michael Sauer and Marc Staal (both have concussions) and winger Wojtek Wolski (groin).

Tomas Vokoun is expected to make his first start for Dale Hunter tonight in more than two weeks.  Vokoun, who appeared in relief of a dreadful Michal Neuvirth on Monday night, is 12-8 on the year with a 2.75 GAA, .907 save percentage, and one shutout.  On the injury front, Mike Green is almost certainly out with a groin injury, though he practiced Tuesday and could be nearing a return.  Jay Beagle will make his return to the lineup after a nearly three month long absence, replacing Mathieu Perreault on the fourth line.  As of now, there is no reason to expect Jeff Schultz to get a sweater over either Roman Hamrlik or John Erskine, though he deserves it.

Gametime tonight is 7:39.

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