Saturday, March 21, 2009

Caps @ Hurricanes 3-21-2009 Preview

Washington Capitals (45-28; 96 points; 1st Southeast Division, 3rd Eastern Conference, 5th Overall) @ Carolina Hurricanes (38-35; 83 points; 2nd Southeast Division, 6th Eastern Conference, 11th Overall):
Caps Game #74, Road Game #37, NHL Game #1,074

RBC Center, Raleigh, NC 7:08 pm. Washington TV: Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WFED 1500-AM. Carolina TV: Fox SportsNet Carolinas. Radio: WCMC 99.9-FM. NHL Center Ice: Fox SportsNet Carolinas and Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic feeds.

Tonight the Caps finish off their swing through the Southeast Division when they pay a visit to Raleigh, North Carolina to play the Hurricanes for the final time this season. The Caps have won three of the previous five games against Carolina so far this season; though last week's win in the Phone Booth came by the way of a gimmick. The Hurricanes are coming off of last night's come from behind win on home ice over the New York Islanders. The Canes got away with allowing four goals in the second period to the worst team in the NHL for their second win in a row. The Hurricanes have won their last seven games on home ice and are playing their third game in four nights, all at home.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)Post: heart-to-heart talk, let him be. Times: shining rookie, nip it in the bud. Caps.com.

Neutral Views:

NHL.com AP Wire.

Open Source Intelligence:

Raleigh News & Observer. Hurricanes.com.

What Do We Expect Tonight?:

One week removed from a game on bad ice where both teams tried to get fancy, the Caps and Hurricanes meet up under pretty much the same circumstances. Sure, Carolina is now in 6th place instead of 7th but the New York Rangers (one point behind), Montreal Canadiens (two points behind), and the Florida Panthers (three points behind) all have two games in hand on the Hurricanes which means they are still fighting to get into the playoffs. The Caps on the other hand could all but officially wrap up a playoff spot and another Division title with a win in regulation tonight and a little help from Columbus. But for the Caps, the status of Mike "BEAM ME UP" Green will have the biggest effect on their chances tonight. We all remember Monday night's debacle against Atlanta where the Caps couldn't generate anything on offense much less get the puck out of their own zone on a regular basis. Green wasn't in the lineup on Monday night and even if Green plays tonight, how effective will he be because we remember 1990 when Rod Langway and Scott Stevens both played through the playoffs with separated shoulders. That our friends could be the biggest key to tonight's game because the Caps 5-1 loss in Raleigh back in December occurred when Green was first out of the lineup for an extended period of time with a shoulder injury. The Caps are 7-7 without Green in the lineup so far this season.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

We feel that Don Cherry will not too loudly express his disapproval of A.O.'s antics (BTW, we think Thom Loverro has it exactly right) and will at least say at one point something along the lines of "I told you so." Cherry might even use the occasion to compare A.O.'s milestone with Martin Brodeur's and how Brodeur properly celebrated his achievement compared to A.O. Finally we predict that Cherry will likely spew his most heated venom at the Ning who "didn't take care of the punk like their coach wanted them too."

Oh wait, that wasn't what you were expecting...

Caps 2
Canes 4
Winner by Staal

(9-9 on the season)

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