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, February 22, 2012

Gameday: at Ottawa, Feb. 22

Can the Capitals actually win a must-win game?
The Washington Capitals are in Ottawa, Ontario, this evening to take on the Senators and try to rebound from a hammering at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night.  The Capitals, who have lost two games in a row, are 3-6-1 in their last ten games and 29-25-5 overall for 63 standings points in 59 games.  As such, they are third in the Southeast Division, two points behind the Jets with three games in hand and two points behind the Panthers with one more game played.  They are tenth in the Eastern Conference as a result of their point total.  The Senators, on the other hand, who had been struggling recently, have now won three in a row, including a 6-0 beatdown of the Islanders on Monday afternoon.  They are 4-4-2 in their last ten and 31-22-8 overall for 70 standings points in 61 games.  This is the fourth and final meeting between these two teams this year; the Capitals have won all three so far.

Craig Anderson will start in goal for coach Paul MacLean.  The journeyman goaltender is 28-19-3 on the year with a 2.87 GAA, .912 save percentage, and three shutouts, including a blanking in his last start.  He has been a workhorse for Ottawa all year and has given the Capitals fits as well.  Outside the crease, the Senators only have one injury, and it is a minor one: centerman Jess Winchester, absent for the last 30 games because of a concussion.

Tomas Vokoun will get the call from Dale Hunter despite being pulled in his last outing, a game in which he probably could not have won anyway.  The veteran Czech goalie, who has been the backbone of the Caps' slim playoff hopes over the last two plus months, is 23-15-2 on the year with a 2.45 GAA, .920 save percentage, and four shutouts.  On the injury front, center Nicklas Backstrom (concussion) is on IR with a concussion and is out indefinitely. Captain Alex Ovechkin, who was limping after Monday's game and did not practice Tuesday, will be a game time decision and will be replaced by Keith Aucoin if he cannot go. Defenseman Dmitry Orlov, who missed Monday's game with a virus, will play, and Roman Hamrlik will be the healthy scratch.

That's all for now.  No recap from me tonight because of school obligations.

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