Saturday, December 02, 2006

Time To Take a Leap, Who Will Step Up?

Speed kills, and tonight the Caps will be trying to stay alive against the speedy Buffalo Sabres. After last season, I had stated that the Ducks and Sabres will be in the cup finals, and the Ducks will take it. We'll see if in the end I am right, however, if it were solely based on points and standings and at this particular moment in time, I would be correct. The Sabres, who started the season as the best, and now only trails Anaheim by two points to lead the NHL, have been a force to be reckoned with this season. They were tough enough, as it is, to beat last season. Having much difficulty with the Sabres a season ago, the Caps are looking to extend their win streak to three games. This game is extremely important for the confidence of this young team. Having beat the Lightning and the Stars, the Sabres are a real testament to how this team can pull together. So who will step up?

Brian Sutherby has one career fight and two goals against the Sabres in 9 career games. Matt Bradley has two fights against the Sabres in his career. Donald Brashear has four goals and one fight in 30 career games against the Sabres. Shaone Morrisonn had his first career regular season NHL fight against the Sabres last season. Ben Clymer and Chris Clark have never been in a fight against the Sabres. Dainius Zubrus and Richard Zednik have each played in 36 career games against the Sabres and account for 34 career points against Buffalo. Jamie Heward is obviously not playing tonight, and Zubrus is listed as day to day with the flu. Zubrus (according to Mike Vogel) will be a "morning skate decision."

Alexander Semin and Matt Pettinger are each on point streaks and look to continue them tonight. Klepis is said to be centering Pettinger and Semin tonight instead of Beech. Jakub Klepis had a great game against the stars, recording two assists while filling in on the top line for Zubrus. Another player who is on a role is Steve Eminger. I say this because he has been not shying away physically, and making smart defensive moves in the past couple of games. He seems to be getting his confidence back and finally clicking with a partner in John Erskine. These two create a pairing that clears the crease, physically gets in your face, carries the puck, and can potentially make break-out passes. I must say though, I am a little disappointed that it is guessed that Brooks Laich will not be in the line-up. He made by far the best play of the Dallas Stars game, setting up Richard Zednik for a goal. If Zubrus is unable to play tonight, I'd like to see Laich in the line-up.

So my prediction for tonight, well there will be two. I like to be optimistic, but I have an uneasy feeling of how we will fare against this speedy team. If the Caps win, it will be 4-3. If the Caps lose, it will be 6-4. Goals will come from Pettinger, Clark, Klepis, and Zednik.


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1:27 AM  

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