Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Caps @ Predators 3-18-2008 Preview

Washington Capitals (35-38; 78 points; 3rd Southeast Division, 11th Eastern Conference, 20th Overall) @ Nashville Predators (36-37; 80 points; 2nd Central Division, 9th Western Conference, 16th Overall):
Caps Game #74, Road Game #36, NHL Game #1,100

Sommet Center, 8:08 pm. Nashville, TN. Washington TV: Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WWWT 1500-AM, 107.7-FM. Nashville TV: Fox SportsNet South Alternate. Radio: WGFX 104.5-FM. NHL Center Ice: Fox SportsNet South Alternate feed.

Tonight the Caps start a crucial 6 game road trip against a team starting a crucial four game homestand. The Caps and the Predators are both on the outside looking in and have long odds of making the playoffs. The Predators have had two wins in their last six games including their most recent game, a 3-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night in Detroit which snapped a three game losing streak.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)Post. Times. Caps.com.

Neutral Views:

NHL.com AP Wire.

Open Source Intelligence:

Tennessean: MVP candidate, hot goalie, take the $$$$$ and run, Game Preview.

What Do I Expect Tonight?:

This is an important game for both teams as the Caps and Preds are trying to make up ground in the waning days of the season to get into the playoffs. The Caps are two points out of 8th in the East and the Preds are four points out in the West. However, the Caps have to get past three other teams while the Preds just need to move up one spot. The Caps have four games left against teams currently ahead of them in the standings while Nashville essentially has none as Detroit has already locked up the Central Division Title and only needs 13 more points to clinch the Western Conference and the President's Trophy. Yet the teams that the Predators are chasing are about to start playing each and unless a rash of three point games breaks out, the Predators could sneak in like the Caps are trying to do. But none of these scenarios are worth anything if the Caps and the Predators don't win the games they are playing in. The Predators have lost their last four games on home ice (one of them coming in a gimmick) and the key for them is playing well on defense because in their past four wins they've allowed only one goal. The #3 Penalty Killing unit helps that out but the Caps have gotten excellent goaltending from Cristobal "WE MUST PROTECT THIS HOUSE" Huet since acquiring him from Montreal. UA's 1.68 goals against and .940 save percentage will be needed tonight it what should be a defensively tight and low scoring game.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 2
Preds 1
Winner by Semin

(38-34 on the season)

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