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Washington Capitals V. Carolina Hurricanes: What to Observe for Tonight
  • The puck will drop tonight at seven:00PM EST to start the 2011-2012 typical
    season for Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. The Capitals, beneath
    Bruce Boudreau as head coach for yet an additional season, have a promising and
    fascinating season ahead of them.

    Crew owner and assistant GM Ted Leonsis has higher expectations for the staff
    this season: It's the Cup or bust. And, with the lineup considerably reformed
    after a brilliant summer season by GM George McPhee and a new defensive system
    in place, the 'Caps need to be a significantly enhanced staff this 12

    With people issues in mind, there are a couple of crucial factors to watch
    for tonight.

    The Bottom-Six Forward Lines

    The Caps have often lacked true grit, character, power and depth in their
    bottom-six. That will appear quite various this season. The bottom-six lineup
    for tonight appears like it will be Ward-Laich-Chimera on the third line and
    Hendricks-Halpern-Beagle on the fourth line.

    With the Caps' fourth line looking completely distinct than final year,
    Washington may be in competition to have the best power line in the league.

    Halpern is a huge improve above former fourth-line center Boyd Gordon.
    Halpern is a gritty veteran who is a defensive professional and has some
    wonderful offensive upside. Not to mention, Halpern is wonderful at cycling the
    puck and doing work along the boards.

    Matt Hendricks has turned out to be an outstanding pickup for the Caps, who
    signed the forward in the course of the 2010 offseason. Hendricks can fight, has
    great hands in the offensive zone and has some of the greatest hits and blocked
    shots per minute-on-ice amid league-forwards.

    Bruce Bennett/Getty Photos

    Sufficient cannot be mentioned about Jay Beagle both Brooks Laich

    Beagle is the sort of man who actually understands his part. He worked on his
    physicality this summertime and ought to be fairly psyched up to hit the ice
    tough and hit some bodies difficult. Beagle is also fantastic on the penalty
    destroy and on the forecheck&mdashespecially considering he struggled to
    stay on the NHL group for most of last season.

    This fourth line is harmful.

    Washington's third line is not something that an opposing group need to take
    lightly both. Laich is a second-line player who excels at each ends of the ice,
    and Ward and Chimera are each hard-workers and even more difficult hitters and

    The Energy Perform

    The Capitals power play has struggled considerably in the previous yr.
    However, it looked promising for the duration of the preseason. Mike Green is
    back in tip-prime shape and is moving his feet and the puck noticeably greater.

    Stronger puck motion will help the Caps as soon as-deadly energy perform
    regain its form this year.

    During the preseason, the energy play also exhibited an capability to operate
    the puck down lower and into the slot,
    forcing enemy penalty kills to uncomfortably collapse and tighten up.

    Also, Alex Ovechkin appears to be much a lot more motivated, like Green, to
    move his feet and entire body about a lot more on the electrical power perform.
    Search for Ovie to place himself down reduced much much more regularly this yr
    because the Caps now boast a lot of other energy perform stage professionals
    like Green and Dennis Wideman.

    Greg Fiume/Getty Photos

    The Man Amongst the Pipes

    Michal Neuvirth will begin in net tonight. Boudreau mentioned that this is to
    reward Neuvirth for obtaining a sturdy camp and that this is not a reflection of
    Vokoun, whom Boudreau has presently named the number 1 goaltender coming into
    the season.

    Neuvirth is gradually but certainly becoming a strong NHL goaltender. And
    Caps followers and raring to see what variety of numbers the elite Tomas Vokoun
    will place up behind the Caps' amazing defense.

    Even though people rocking the red will not be able to see Vokoun in action
    until Monday night, the goaltender ought to be watched tonight as Neuvirth will
    search place up a robust performance tonight.

    The Wonderful Eight

    Not to be cliche, but maintain your eye on Ovie tonight. Following several
    critics proclaimed that defensemen all around the league have figured out Alex
    and even gone so far as to say that Ovie is a a single-trick offensive pony,
    Ovechkin has mentioned that he worked on his game a good deal.

    Ovie is getting to be a far more comprehensive player and showed us some new
    energy in the course of the preseason.

    Appear for Ovie to begin the season off on a really strong note tonight.

    The Imply Green Scoring Machine

    Green was placing up wonderful numbers just before he acquired injured midway
    via last season. Regardless of what his critics say, he is turning out to be a
    extremely comprehensive, two-way player and is now, along with Ovie and the
    other Youthful Guns, looking to lead this great hockey club to excellence.

    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Specially under the influence of veteran defenseman and new line-mate Roman
    Hamrlik, Green must be itching to begin off the season in impressive vogue.

    To Wrap Up...

    Carolina-Washington games normally seem to be to be high-scoring, so seem for
    tonight's game to be won in a substantial-flying style. And even even though the
    Caps went 5--one towards Carolina final normal season, the Southeast division is
    no longer the laughing stock of the league and the Hurricanes are looking a bit
    more powerful than they have been final 12 months

    All in all, tonight is sure to be an interesting way to open up what is sure
    to be a historic season for the Nation's hockey team.