Saturday, March 29, 2008

Caps @ Panthers 3-29-2008 Preview

Washington Capitals (39-39; 86 points; 2nd Southeast Division, 9th Eastern Conference, 17th Overall) @ Florida Panthers (36-42; 81 points; 3rd Southeast Division, 11th Eastern Conference, 21st Overall):
Caps Game #79, Road Game #41, NHL Game #1,174

BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise, FL. 7:08 pm. Washington TV: Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WWWT 1500-AM, 107.7-FM. Florida TV: Fox Sportsnet Florida. Radio: WAXY 790-AM. NHL Center Ice: Fox Sportsnet Florida feed.

Tonight the Caps wrap up their road schedule for the 2007-2008 season when they play the Florida Panthers for the seventh time this season. The Panthers, who are playing their final game at home this season, continue to be a thorn in the side of the Caps as they lead the season series, 4-2 after winning the last game 4-2 on February 15th. The Panthers were making a late run at a playoff berth and possible Division title but have run out of gas recently. They've lost three of their last four games including two in a row and are now on the brink of elimination. In their last game on Thursday night the Panthers lost at home to the Atlanta Thrashers 3-2.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)Post. Times. Caps.com.

Neutral Views:

NHL.com AP Wire.

Open Source Intelligence:

Miami Herald: disappointment, doubt.

What Do I Expect Tonight?:

The games today could bring a lot of clarity to the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference. Boston hosts Ottawa in a matinee game, the Carolina Hurricanes are in Tampa facing the Ning, and of course, the Caps are in Florida. Should the Senators gain a single point, Canes win in any fashion, and the Caps lose in regulation tonight; the Canes will clinch a playoff spot and the Southeast Division Title and the Devils, and Senators will both clinch playoff spots. As a matter of fact, losing in regulation tonight no matter what the other results are could very well all but eliminate the Caps tonight. However, should the Caps pull off any kind of win tonight, the Panthers will be officially eliminated from the playoffs and furthermore, the Caps will lock up at least second place in the Southeast Division. This is Florida's home finale and you have to expect that they want to go out on a high note. The pressure is now off of them as there is essentially no way they can sneak into the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference so they are very dangerous. The Panthers of course have been a tough game for the Caps in recent years so we'll have to hope that the Panthers are content to just get through their final four games. The Caps will have to come out tonight looking to put the Panthers away early and need to play with the desperation that was lacking for most of the game Thursday night. While a playoff berth is all but gone, the Caps can still be proud of finishing second in their division and posting 40 wins in spite of the bad start that they got off to.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 2
Panthers 1
Winner by Semin

(41-36 on the season)

Editorial Note For the Dozens of Readers of This Blog:

Despite the fact that tonight is a big game and the season really could end tonight, I have places to go, people to see, and things to do so I won't be watching tonight's game. There won't be a Post-Mortem again later tonight and if history is any indicator, the Caps will win handily tonight and A.O. will do something spectacular. (Or does that only work with home games...)

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