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!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Gameday: vs. Winnipeg, Feb. 9

Big boys go boom.
The Washington Capitals will welcome the Winnipeg Jets to Verizon Center on Thursday night as they look to build some momentum over a stretch of critical games.  The Capitals, 4-0 winners over the Panthers on Tuesday night, are 4-4-2 over their last ten and 28-21-4 overall for 60 standings points in 53 games.  Those 60 points place them first in the Southeast Division, one point above the Panthers with one more game played, and therefore third overall in the East.  They are, however, one point shy of ninth place in the Conference.  Winnipeg, who beat the Maple Leafs on Tuesday 2-1, are 4-5-1 in their last ten games and 25-24-6 overall for 56 points in 55 games.  Those 56 points place them third in the Southeast Division and tenth overall in the East.  This is the fourth of six meetings between these two clubs this season; the Capitals are 2-1 in those three previous games.

Jets coach Claude Noel is almost certain to go with his workhorse, Ondrej Pavelec, in goal.  Pavelec, who made 17 saves in Winnipeg's win over the Leafs on Tuesday, is 19-18-6 on the year with a 2.70 GAA, .912 save percentage, and three shutouts, and has always played well against the Capitals, whether in Atlanta or Manitoba.  Surprisingly, the Jets only have one injury question for this evening's game - center Tim Stapleton, who has been out recently with a leg injury.  He is on IR but is considered questionable.

Tomas Vokoun will get the call from Dale Hunter in goal after a huge 42-save shutout on Tuesday.  Vokoun is 22-13-1 on the year with a 2.40 GAA, .920 save percentage, and four shutouts, and has been a huge part of the team's wins over the last six weeks.  On the injury front, Nicklas Backstrom (concussion) and Mike Green (sports hernia surgery) are both on IR and will not play.  Elsewhere,
Dale Hunter has proven that he has completely lost his mind, as he is scratching Mike Knuble and allowing Jay Beagle to play.  That move totally makes sense...benching a good player for a career fourth liner.  Oookay then.  Jeff Schultz will also be in over John Erskine.

Puck drops 7:08-ish.

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