Alex Ovechkin and his entourage will be in the Garden on Tuesday night to face off with the Rangers at 7:30 (damn you Versus).
Where We Are: Sitting at .500 with seven wins and seven losses, coming off of a 2-0 failure against the St. Louis Blues on Sunday evening - the opener of a four game homestand. That defeat dropped the Blueshirts to 2-4-1 at the Garden, which would be nauseating if you didn't consider that the Devils are 0-5-1 at the Rock and the Sabres are 0-6-1 at HSBC.
Where They Are: Washington is tied for best in the league with 20 points, holding a record of 10-4-0. They have a +13 goal differential - the Rangers are flat at 0. The Caps enter the game having won four in a row after Mike Green scored a power-play goal 29 seconds into overtime for a 3-2 victory over Philly on Sunday.
Who To Watch For: Green has goals in four straight games, as does the other Alex, Alexander Semin. The Ovechkin fellow has 18 points this season, 10 of which came in the last six games. His center Nicklas Backstrom 'only' is averaging a point per game and had two assists in each of his last two games. Semyon Varlamov is injured so Left Wing Lock has Michal Neuvirth starting across from Hank after getting the Philly game off. Who the hell is he? Well Neuvirth has played just 35 games over the last three seasons while winning two Calder Cups in the AHL and is 8-3-0 this campaign. He was drafted in the second round in 06, 13 picks after Bobby Sanguinetti and 20 ahead of Arty Anisimov. Real American Hero John Carlson - the guy I wanted the Rangers to draft instead of MDZ in '08 - has been quite good, especially for a rookie, and has eight points. The latest Ups & Downs at Japer's Rink says that he is playing at a high level now that Green is relatively healthy after a shoulder injury (nine points in 11 games). Sadly my buddy, my pal Tom Poti is out with a lower-body injury, a bad groin ... which lends itself to just so many jokes ...
What To Watch For: The Pack line of Arty-Dubi-Cally to have a bit of an easier time than in recent games as Washington lacks tough, shutdown defensemen (sorry, plus-minus machine Jeff Schultz doesn't count). On that same note, Staal vs Ovechkin is always wonderful to watch. DJ King to help justify Derek Boogaard's paycheque by renewing their relations. Tomas Fleischmann to set up a Washington goal - he had four assists in his three games against NY last season.
What We'll (Hopefully) See: The Rangers standing up for each other. That's all I ask, that's all I want to see at this point.
Also Check Out: The Caps have a really strong blogosphere but I just head to Japer's Rink for all my info.