Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Peerless Prognosticator is ON THE AIR!! -- Caps vs. Oilers, October 28th

The Peerless Prognosticator is ON THE AIR!!

And the whirlwind trip through the western Canada continues . . . tonight it’s the Edmonton Oilers, last year’s unlikely Stanley Cup finalists, hosting the Caps. One thing about the boys being on the road, it gives Caps fans the opportunity to watch them on the tube with the dulcet tones of Craig Laughlin and Joe Beninati filling the air. But to complete the experience, you need to have munchables worthy of the swooping eagle, and tonight, we bring you a few recipes to enhance your viewing experience.

Olie’s Five-Hole Four Layer Dip . . . take a 16-save first period . . . add a shutout second period . . . layer on a spectacular third period . . . dollop a bit of overtime theatrics (including a big stop early in the session) . . . but watch out – adding that one puck between the pads won’t make it a five-layer dip, it’ll just leave a bad taste in your mouth.

Alex’s Rootin’ Tootin’ I’ll be Shootin’ Chili . . . take some wicked wrist shots . . . add a pinch on the weak side . . . a slapper or two for spice . . . and voila! But that last spoonful always seems to miss the mark. Maybe we need less deke and more wrist. We’ll have to work on that.

Clarkie’s Two Fisted Ground Round . . . Take one Bieksa . . . a few lefts, a few rights to tenderize . . . an uppercut for good measure . . . let rest for five minutes, and you have a freshly done Bieksa for the rest of the night.

Zubie’s Leftover Magic . . . you can’t rush this dish . . . just wait patiently on the other side of the play . . . wait for the slap shot to come from the other side . . . whack home the rebound. Works best on the power play.

Potsie’s Pass Around Pot Luck . . . take one puck . . . sprinkle liberally on the other ingredients (Ovechkin, Semin, Clark, Zubrus recommended) . . . and pass around the goals.

Ovie’s Wham-Bam JAMbalaya . . . take one unsuspecting puck carrier . . . apply a healthy measure of shoulder . . . and watch the glass fly! . . . guaranteed to make your guests hoot and holler for more . . . JAM-ba-LI-ya!

Now . . . the game. Edmonton comes into this game 6-4-0 and rested since losing in Phoenix, 6-2, on Thursday. As their record suggests, they do not have any page-leaping numbers – they are in the middle third in the league in just about every team statistic. But there is one thing to note . . . they are not a particularly effective team when scoring first (.625 winning percentage), and they’ve lost two of their last three when scoring first. That’s not a prescription for the Caps to allow the first goal, but it does suggest that plugging away, even if they fall behind, could yield results – it worked in Vancouver.

For the Caps, Alex Ovechkin has goals in his last four games (4-2-6, -1), including two power play goals. This is pretty much the script Caps fans would like to see followed. Alex Semin saw his eight-game scoring streak ended last night, only tallying one shot on goal. His highlights were more or less confined to giving t on – and later taking one from – Rory Fitzpatrick. While the Caps dropped into a tie for fourth in the league in scoring, 19 of their 31 goals have come from three players (Alex Squared and Dainius Zubrus). The second line of Alex Semin, Kris Beech, and Richard Zednik – and yes, The Peerless realizes that this line has been shaken up some -- has only five even strength goals in ten games (Semin has four power play goals). But here is a statistic that points out just how much the Caps have improved from last year at this time. Of the 18 skaters likely to dress tonight (Assuming Brooks Laich, Boyd Gordon, and Bryan Muir are healthy scratches), only five have “minus” figures for the year; 12 are on the plus side (Jakub Klepis is even in eight games).

This is the back-half of a back-to-back, on the road, out west. Edmonton is rested, a battle-hardened club, and playing at home. All signs point to a Caps loss. Well, these aren’t your father’s – or last year’s – Caps. Brent Johnson is rested himself, and has played well in a relief role this year. He will see a lot of rubber, but will make enough saves to let the Caps spread some offense around. The Caps’ second period woes seem to have been reversed on this trip, and it will be the telling frame . . .

Caps 4 – Oilers 2.

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