Saturday, March 14, 2009

Caps vs. Hurricanes 3-14-2009 Preview

Washington Capitals (42-27; 90 points; 1st Southeast Division, 3rd Eastern Conference, 5th Overall) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (36-34; 78 points; 2nd Southeast Division, 7th Eastern Conference, 13th Overall):
Caps Game #70, Home Game #37, NHL Game #1,025

Verizon Center, Washington, DC, 7:08 pm. Washington TV: Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WFED 1500-AM. Carolina TV: Fox SportsNet Carolina. Radio: WCMC 99.9-FM. NHL Center Ice: Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic feed.

Tonight after winning two games on the road the Caps must now face down their four game losing streak on home ice when they host the Carolina Hurricanes. In spite of currently holding a playoff spot, the Hurricanes are starting fall back from a playoff position as their lead over Florida is only one point, but the Panthers have two games in hand on Carolina. The Canes are in this position because they've lost their last two games, after a four game winning streak to start the month of March, first in a gimmick on Wednesday night at Chicago and on Thursday night in Dallas for their first loss in regulation in six games. This is Carolina's third game in four nights on the road.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)Post. Times. Caps.com.

Neutral Views:

NHL.com AP Wire.

Open Source Intelligence:

Raleigh News and Observer. Hurricanes.com.

What Do We Expect Tonight?:

So here the Caps are once again in the familiar position of playing a team at home who is in desperate need of points for their playoff positioning. Hopefully for the Caps, last week's 5-2 embarrassment is still fresh in their minds and they'll come out looking for revenge. The Canes probably won't be a first round opponent but the Caps might also want to send them a message about that possibility too by putting this game out of reach early. Carolina has come to the end of a tough stretch of games where they're playing their sixth game in nine nights. That is not easy as the Caps would be very wise to stick to the basics of getting the puck in deep, setting up their forecheck, and forcing the Canes to work their way through every inch of the ice. If the Caps do that, they should be fine. If the Caps want to get cute, they should remember that the Harlem Globetrotters will make the ice nice and slushy tonight before their game, ruining any chances the Caps have of getting fancy with their play.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 5
Canes 3
Winner by Semin

(7-7 on the season)

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