Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Peerless Prognosticator is ON THE AIR!!! -- Caps vs. Islanders, October 18th

The Peerless Prognosticator is ON THE AIR!!

The Capitals return to Verizon Center tonight after something less than a triumphant road swing through New York, going 1-2-0 in the tour of Long Island, Manhattan, and Buffalo. While the Caps have not come crashing to earth like, say, the Thrashers (whose season has been one big face plant so far), they were provided a heaping helping of reality in losing two games by a combined 10-4 score. In the process, their 12-for-12 penalty killing record earned over the first three games allowed five in 15 tries in two games. It’s not so much the number of goals (although that’s a problem) as much as the number of opportunities. 15 penalty killing situations (compared to eight power plays) isn’t going to be an ingredient for success.

But that’s water under the Verrazano Bridge. Tonight, the Islanders try to repay the favor of a win on enemy ice as they take on the Caps. We needed to get the details on the visitors, so we went right to the panel of experts – Mrs. Paul, Theodore Van de Kamp, and of course, Samuel Gorton, the original “Gorton’s Fisherman.”

Welcome, folks…Let’s get right to it. The Islanders come into this game with a 3-3 record, but only 1-2 since losing to the Caps on Columbus Day. They’ve lost their last two by a combined 11-2 score. What’s been the problem?

Mrs. Paul…They’ve played like a bunch of clam strips.

TPP: Can you explain that?

Mrs. Paul…The power play…it just sort of lies there like a bunch of limp clam strips.

Gorton…Since they were 3-for-3 in the opener, the power play has gone 2-for-23. You couldn’t fry a fish stick with that kind of power play.

Van de Kamp…amen. But what about the PK? They’ve been right up there – 88.2 percent puts them in sixth place, league-wide.

Gorton…yeah, but 33 times shorthanded? That’s sixth, too. Too many minutes being played a man short.

Mrs. Paul…well, Ricky’s been doing pretty well…2.21, .915. If it wasn’t for that game when Dubie got shelled, we might be 4-2 and in the top eight.

Van de Kamp…Yeah, well, Ricky can’t play all the games. And nobody should be giving up eight goals to Toronto, even if it was on 42 shots.

Gorton….yeah, he was sure floppin’ around like a mackerel that night.

TPP…OK, so who needs to step up for the Islanders tonight?

Gorton…Miroslav Satan. He’s been brutal so far. One assist and a -3 in six games. He’s got 26 goals in 41 career games against the Caps. He’s got to step up.

Van de Kamp…agreed, especially with the other Cap killer – Jon Sim – out with a sprained knee. I think a guy to watch is going to be Chris Simon. He’s rested and ready after than long suspension, and I think he’s going to be playing with hot sauce and vinegar tonight.

Mrs. Paul…The guys who got off to hot starts – Mike Comrie and Bill Guerin – they’re 0-2-2, -7 in their last four games, going back to the Caps game. Can’t have that…the Islanders need them to play like batter-dipped fillets, not like shrimp.

TPP… and just what does that mean?

Mrs. Paul…I have no clue…you’re the one who thought a fish theme was a bright idea.

TPP…ok, so what about the Caps? What concerns you about these guys tonight?

Van de Kamp…Alex Ovechkin. He’s consistent, overall, but when he gets on a goal-scoring binge, they come in streaks. He’s got a goal in each of his last two games. We’re seeing him at the wrong time.

Mrs. Paul…Mike Green. What a difference a year makes. And he seems to be getting hot, too. Three points in his last two games and plus-two despite the two losses.

Gorton…Kolzig. Geez, when is that guy going to head off to the great fish basket of retirement? Three games, 2-1-0, 1.35, .958. And he’s an Islander-killer…26-9-2 in his career, 2.24, .914.

TPP…Anything you think the Islanders can exploit?

Gorton…Their PK. But the trick there is to draw penalties.


Van de Kamp…I think what he means is that if you can get the Caps to take a lot of penalties, their PK is vulnerable. In the games where they had fewer than five shorthanded situations, they killed all the penalties off. The two where they took more than five?...not good. Plus, with Boyd Gordon and his balky back being day-to-day…the Caps could be missing a key penalty killer.

Mrs. Paul…shots, too.

Gorton…we thought you’d kicked the sauce, Mrs. P.

Mrs. Paul…not whiskey, you old coot…shots on goal. In the Caps’ three wins, they averaged giving up 27.7 a game. In the two losses, 47. You give up that many shots a game, you’re going to see some go in.

TPP…well, let’s get right down to it. Who wins this game?


TPP…wrong! The Caps have had since last Saturday to think about what needs to be corrected and to do what they have to do to correct it. Besides, if there is a team that has played worse in their last two games than have the Caps, it is the Islanders. The Caps get back on track tonight…5-2.

Gorton…not if the Islanders were wearing real jerseys.

TPP…let it go, fisherman…let it go.