Friday, March 14, 2008

Caps vs. Thrashers 3-14-2008 Preview

Washington Capitals (33-38; 74 points; 3rd Southeast Division, 11th Eastern Conference, 21st Overall) vs. Atlanta Thrashers (31-41; 70 points; 4th Southeast Division, 14th Eastern Conference, 27th Overall):
Caps Game #72, Home Game #37, NHL Game #1,071

Verizon Center, Washington, D.C. 7:08 pm. Washington TV: Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WWWT 1500-AM, 107.7-FM. Atlanta TV: SportSouth. Radio: WCNN 680-AM. National TV: NHL Network carrying the Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic feed. NHL Center Ice: None.

Tonight the Caps have a chance to bury a team behind them in the standings when they host the Atlanta Thrahsers for the fourth and final time this season and the seventh meeting overall. Atlanta has a 4-2 lead in the series so far this season and has won the last two matchups between the teams. The Thrashers sold Marion Hossa off at the deadline and have declined as you would expect with just 2 wins in their last twelve games. Atlanta is playing their third game in four nights after last night's 6-4 victory over the Calgary Flames in Atlanta which was their first win in regulation since beating the Caps 2-0 on February 2nd.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)Post. Times: slowing down, power performer. Caps.com.

Neutral Views:

NHL.com AP Wire.

Open Source Intelligence:

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: comeback, milestones.

What Do I Expect Tonight?:

And so the slow grind that is the end of the Caps season continues on... The Richard Race between Illya Kovalchuk and A.O. will take center stage tonight but that's about it. The Caps could use the opportunity to improve their division record as no team with a losing record in their division has made the playoffs since the lockout. The Caps are currently 10-14 (10-11-3 for the Gary Bettman crowd) in the Southeast with eight Divisional games (2 against each team, one home, one away including tonight's game) left to play. While posting a winning record by any metric in the Division won't get the Caps into the playoffs; it will ensure the Caps of staying out of last place in the Southeast Division which is something we haven't done since 2003, the last time we made the playoffs. So other than keeping our dim playoff hopes alive, there's nothing to play for tonight except for pride. Though I would like to see us avoid giving up multiple 5 on 3 Power Plays tonight which we have done in two of the past three games. With John "Coach's Pet" Erskine Bowles likely out tonight with an injury, our odds of doing so increase.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 4
Thrashers 2
Winner by Federov

(36-34 on the season)

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