Chicago Blackhawks (0-1-0) @ Washington Capitals (0-1-0)
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I'd really, really love to see the Hawks just get that first win out of the way tonight. I would just hate to see this team head into the home opener with an 0-2 record and still looking for their first win of the season, because that's a lot of pressure to handle this early in the year for a young team. If they can build on some of the positive things they did last night in the loss to the Rangers, like the way they created scoring chances in the 1st period, and eliminate some of the negative things, like the defensive turnovers, I like the Hawks' chances of getting win #1 of the season.
I would think we may see Nikolai Khabibulin in goal tonight. Cristobal Huet didn't have a great night in goal against New York and I think Savard may turn to Khabby, because that's the reality of the goalie situation right now; If one goalie has a rough night, time to turn to the other $6 million goaltender and see if he can come up with a big performance. I don't think Huet neccessarily deserves to be "benched", if that's the way you want to put it, but right now there are two expensive goalies on this roster and they need to be used equally until Khabibulin is dealt to another team.
Washington has some pretty good offensive talent up front, obviously with Alexander Ovechkin of course, but Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom are pretty good complementary players as well. Sergei Federov, Michael Nylander and Viktor Kozlov don't quite instill fear into opponents like they did years ago, but still can create offense if given the opportunity.
Get some pressure on goalie Jose Theodore early on and I think the Hawks can have a successful offensive night. Hopefully the power play can bury some of their chances and ultimately help spoil Washington's home opener.