Game #21 vs. Capitals - My Russians vs... wait, where are all your Russians?

Kevin McCartney
March 02 2013 11:48AM

 

 Washington Capitals (7-11-1) vs.

Your Winnipeg Jets (10-9-1)

Last Meeting: January 22, Jets 4, Capitals 2

Preview

As our own Travis Hrubeniuk talked about yesterday, the Jets come into this matinee riding a three game win streak and in need of more to put distance between them and the bottom of the conference (aka the Capitals). The last time these two teams met, the Jets got their first win of the season. Today the Jets are in a position to take over 1st in the Division with a win a bit of luck.

The Capitals are much-maligned for their Blue Jackets-esque performance so far this season, but the game is hardly an easy one. The Caps are 5-5 in their last ten, and sport a somewhat more respectable -7 goal differential on the season - good enough to tie them with the Predators for 23rd best. Okay, so not good. But the point is, they're coming on of late.

After a slow start for Washington's stars, Ovechkin, Backstrom, and even The Groin have started to heat up. Ovechkin's 3 points in his first 7 games has given way to a one point, 5 shot per game average through February. Backstrom had 11 in those same 12 games last month. Meanwhile, spots media around North America are being praised for their forward-thinking lobbying efforts to keep aggressive and conspicuous flip-flopping a proud part of the scribe tradition. Ribeiro continues to be the Capitals most productive forward with 22 points on the year and 14 last month alone, despite almost two fewer minutes per game than the duo above.

It's no surprise, then, that the Capitals powerplay has been deadly. This may be the deciding factor in today's matchup as the Jets have (shamefully) the worst penalty kill in the league. You read that - it's worse than Florida's. Still, the Jets have actually been the most disciplined team in the NHL with only 63 Poweplays given, and the Capitals have struggled to score 5-on-5.

 By the Numbers

 

Capitals

Jets

5x5 GF/60

2.1 (21st)

2.4 (18th)

5x5 GA/60

2.5 (T-17th)

2.5 (T-17th)

 

Home

Away

Home

Away

PP%

30.6% (2nd)

23.3% (5th)

13.3% (26th)

16.2% (13th)

PK%

80%

(24th)

72.7% (24th)

72.7% (29th)

70.7% (26th)

Top Scorer

Mike Ribeiro

10 GP, 

3-8-11

Mike Ribeiro

9 GP, 

3-8-11

Andrew Ladd

11 GP, 

7-4-11

Evander Kane

11 GP, 

6-5-11

Matinee GF/GA Differential

+0.67 

(3 GP)

-1.00 

(4GP)

 Coach's Coaching

Jets

Stay Disciplined: The Jets lead the league in 5-on-5 minutes per game this year. This a game where they have to continue to avoid the penalty box. The Capitals' PK is bad, but only as bad as the Jets' powerplay. And the other special teams matchup is ugly for the Jets.

Vertical Offence: The Capitals defence is gigantoid. With Green and Hillen out, their average size slides about 6'3" and over 210lbs. But with Erskine, an aging (aged?) Hamrlik, Tom Poti and the Broken Pelvises, and Jeff Schultz drawing in for Green, their mobility is questionable. The Jets have some big bodies up front, but it's to their advantage to avoid generating from the boards against the giant and likely violent Washington ogres.

Capitals

Wish upon a star: Remember when every team was always like 'man, we need more top 6 forwards!' This team was the first ever in the history of hockey to say, 'nah, 3 is enough.' So as Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Ribeiro go, so does this team's scoring. 

Get on the Powerplay!: WIth no Green, this PP looks a little different. Nevertheless, it's a chance for them to put all their top 6 forwards out at once. And two more guys! So that's like a bonus. 

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Kevin is a regular contributor to Jets Nation. His work has been featured on Bleacher Report, The Sporting News, and around the Nations Network. An enthusiastic over-analyst, his background and interests are diverse, but you might notice he's obsessed with hockey. Track him down on twitter @kevinmccart
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#1 The Keystone Garter
March 05 2013, 01:21PM
Trash it!
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I like: Toews, Crosby, Stamkos. Giroux, Tavares, Perry. Leaning Kane, Marleau, faster accelerating Marchand. Vs: Kovalchuk, Datsyuk, Kuznetsov. (sound D and physical)Ovechkin, Malkin, Yakupov. Kuznetsov is the best non-NHLer...

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