Lightning-Capitals Preview: Olie The Goalie's Return to Washington

Jennifer JohnsonAnalyst INovember 9, 2008

This storyline couldn’t be any more exciting. 

The Washington Capitals' up-and-down season takes a nostalgic turn as they host the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow night at the Verizon Center.

The St. Petersburg Times has reported that former Capitals Goalie Olaf Kolzig will get the nod in net.

This marks his return to Washington for the first time as an opposing player.

His record this in three starts is 1-1-1, with a 2.67 goals against average and a .925 save percentage.

Goalie Brent Johnson has not officially been named the starter for the home team, but Coach Bruce Boudreau is leaning toward riding his hot netminder for the third game in a row.

“I’m not into goalie controversies.  Right now Brent is really playing well and he’s in a position he hasn’t been in quite a few years.  So I hope he’s relishing it.”

I would say he is, Coach. 

Brent’s record this season is 3-1-2, with a 2.12 goals against average and a .944 save percentage. 

In his last three starts, he is 2-0-1 with a 1.63. goals against average.

This is great news for Caps fans, because replacing Kolzig has been a mixed bag of emotions.

Older fans have jeered, while the youth movement has cheered.

After seventeen years as the face of the Capitals,  Olie the Goalie is not about to sit on the bench for this matchup.

Kolzig left Washington with a bitter taste in his mouth after the team decided to make a deadline deal for Montreal Canadiens goalie, Cristobal Huet.  (Huet signed with Chicago in the offseason)

He'll have to be sharp, as his new team hasn't produced wins in the last several outings against Washington. 

In fact, Tampa Bay went 2-6 in last year’s season series.

Luckily this year, their defense appears to be their biggest strength.

In eight games this season, Tampa Bay has given up two goals or fewer. 

They have the top scoring defense in the league, with just 0.38 goals allowed per game.

The Capitals can counter that impressive stat with the stellar play of RW Alexander Semin.

Semin leads the NHL with 21 points.  He has scored 11 goals in his last 13 games played.

That’s kept the Capitals afloat, since their version of Wayne Gretzky, Alex Ovechkin, has gone nine games without a goal.  

He scored two against the Blackhawks in game two, and has registered five points since then.

In his career against the Lightning, Ovie has 14 goals and 13 assists in 24 games played.

The goods guys in red need that kind of output, to make a run at a second straight Southeast division title.

Who knows how Kolzig will do, since he has no record against the Capitals?

I know that he wants to show Coach Boudreau and General Manager George McPhee that they made a mistake in letting him leave the only home he’s ever known.

Kolzig vs. Johnson—Let the game begin!


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