And now back to your regularly scheduled programming ...
Where We Are: Ah, was it really just three games ago that we blew a four goal lead to Alexander Ovechkin in yet another utter Garden embarrassment? Since then they put in a piss poor effort against the Devils and a win against the Islanders that was anything but reassuring that we are better than the worst team in the NHL. But since then, the team has had four days off to celebrate the holiday and practice. Could a new year bring in a new team?
Where They Are: Oh, the Caps are just one of the hottest teams in the league right now having won five straight and 10 of their last 11. And they are facing us on their home ice, where they are 16-1-1 this season. Dammit.
Who To Watch For: Despite the continual barrage of Cindy Crosby advertising during the Winter Classic, Washington's Alexander Ovechkin is by far the best player on the ice. Sadly he wasn't born in North America and looks a little bit like Captain Caveman. The Caps' other Alex, Semin, is back skating after having a back injury but isn't likely to play against us. Neither is my boy Tom Poti, but you never know as he is listed day-to-day with a groin problem. Man, sometimes the jokes write themselves.
What To Watch For: See if Ovie shows any tentativeness after nearly killing Jamie Heward. He was shaken after that game, and perhaps it will hold over through Saturday. I doubt it but you never know. Also see if Mike Green can break through and keep his scoring streak going - he has four points in three games since returning from injury. He will be huge on the Caps power play, which is one of the best in the league at 23.1%. They are facing the NHL's best kill at 88.2% but four days off may make the legs heavy ...
What We'll (Hopefully) See: Another huge game by the Ranger youth. Petr Prucha, Nigel Dawes and Lauri Korpikoski were all fantastic against the Isles on Monday and hopefully their energy will invigorate or embarrass the Ranger vets into showing up.
Also Check Out: The Caps have arguably the best blogbase around the league in terms of skill, info and access - if only because of their owner Ted Leonsis, who has his own well-maintained page. Probably the best not owned by him are personal fav Japer's Rink, On Frozen Blog and the diverse DC sports blog Off Wing Opinion.
As always, I recommend people check out Sam Weinman's Ranger Report and Steve Zipay's Blue Notes.