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Nothing Could Be Finer ...

I just spoke to Nicklas Backstrom, who is mere minutes from making his NHL preseason debut in front of an expected full house here at RBC Center. He sounded confident. The 19-year-old will center a line with Tomas Fleischmann and Francois Bouchard, I'm told.

The parking lots around the building are a zoo. The sixth annual Caniac Carnival is going on and at 10 a.m., the Hurricanes began handing out FREE tickets. Yes I said FREE. The line wrapped around the building.

Could be a tough day for the Caps, who brought a really young lineup. They've got six guys making their NHL debuts. The 'Canes, meantime, will play nine veterans, including Cory Stillman, Eric Staal, Erik Cole Williams, John Grahame, Mike Commodore.

Back home at Kettler, I'm told that Alexander Semin skated today after suffering a cut above left eye yesterday. Matt Bradley got a nice promotion to LW with Nylander and Semin.

Ovechkin skated only briefly. But he'll be back on the ice at 3 pm to skate with a group of kids who won a CCM contest. He'll probably be at Kettler until 9 p.m. shooting the game-open video for the new HD boards.

That's all for now.

Update:Coach Glen Hanlon said the first big round of cuts will likely come late Wednesday because Hershey's camp opens Thursday. It also sounds like Karl Alzner and Bouchard will need a monster game today and must continue to dominate camp in order to stick around. That's no knock on them, it's just the reality of the Caps' depth this season.

Update:Correction. Not a full house. Some empty seats in the season ticket holder sections and luxury suites. Still a decent turnout.

Update:Caps go up 2-0 in the second period. Backstrom just knocked in a sweet cross crease pass from Fleischmann on the power play. (That huge sigh of relief you just heard came from me. I'm writing about young Nicklas for tomorrow's Post.)

Mike Green had the first Caps' goal. He appeared to score it accidentally. He was at the blue line when he reached back, stopped the puck then flicked it back in. Somehow it fluttered over John Grahame's shoulder.

Update:The Canes scored two quick ones against Michal Neurvirth in the third period to make it 2-2. Then things got crazy. A Stillman goal was waved off (knocked in with a high stick). Then Ben Clymer put the Caps ahead at 17:57 after stuffing in a rebound.

Did I tell you Clymer is my new favorite Cap?

But, alas, Justin Williams sent the game to OT with a goal at 19:00. The Canes had spend about 1:15 in the Caps' zone just prior.

Cole scored the game winner with 47.2 left on a 5-on-3. Dave Steckel broke his stick, so it was really a 5-on-2 1/2 Game over.

Update:Alzner just called Matt Pettinger "Mr. Pettinger" in an interview. He said he calls all the vets Mister. That will only change, he said, when he makes the team.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  September 16, 2007; 1:14 PM ET
 
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