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!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Gameday: at Chicago, Mar. 18

Anarchy! Road trips! St. Patrick's Day!
The Washington Capitals are in Chicago, Illinois, this evening to take on the Blackhawks as they play the third game of a season-long five game road swing.  Washington, 6-3-1 in their last ten games, are 36-29-6 overall for 78 standings points in 71 games.  Those 78 points place them second in the Southeast Division, five points back of the Panthers, and eighth overall in the Eastern Conference, two points clear of the Jets for the final playoff spot in the conference.  Chicago, the 2010 Stanley Cup Champions, have won two in a row, are 6-3-1 in their last ten, and 39-35-8 overall for 86 standings points in 72 games.  That places them fourth in the highly competitive Central Division and sixth overall in the Western Conference.  This will be the one and only meeting between these two teams this season.

Corey Crawford is almost certain to start for Joel Quenneville's men after stopping 21 of 22 against the Stars in his last time out, a game that Chicago won 4-1.  Crawford has struggled a bit this season after his banner campaign of 2010-11, and is 24-16-5 on the year with a 2.85 GAA and .902 save percentage. Outside the crease, the Hawks have a huge hole in their lineup, as captain Jonathan Toews, one of the top three or four players in hockey, is out with a concussion and will not play.  Chicago will also be missing winger Daniel Carcillo (ACL surgery) and defenseman Steve Montador (concussion), though those injuries are not as inhibiting as Toews' is.

Because Tomas Vokoun lost his last start and is also battling a nagging injury that has forced a Braden Holtby recall, expect Michal Neuvirth to get the call in goal from Dale Hunter.  Neuvirth is 11-11-4 on the year with a 2.81 GAA, .902 save percentage, and three shutouts on the year; he has never faced the Blackhawks in his career.  On the injury front, the Caps are still without star center Nicklas Backstrom because of his concussion, though the Swede did skate in Washington on Saturday for the fifth consecutive day and continues to work his way back.  In terms of the lineup, expect Hunter to keep Jeff Halpern a healthy scratch up front and Roman Hamrlik and John Erskine up in the press box on defense.

Puck drops 7:10-ish from the Windy City.  As always, follow me on Twitter here for news and updates.

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