Friday, March 27, 2009

Caps vs. Ning 3-27-2009 Preview

Washington Capitals (45-30; 97 points; 1st Southeast Division, 3rd Eastern Conference, 5th Overall) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (24-50; 65 points; 4th Southeast Division, 14th Eastern Conference, 28th Overall):
Caps Game #76, Home Game #38, NHL Game #1,110

Verizon Center, Washington, DC. 7:08 pm. Washington TV: Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WFED 1500-AM. Tampa TV: Sunshine Network. Radio: WDAE 620-AM. NHL Center Ice: Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic feed.

Tonight the Caps return home, where they have only one gimmick win in their last five games, to a new sheet of ice for the final homestand of the season when they face the Ning. The Ning have been working a lot of overtime recently as seven of their last ten games have gone beyond regulation including last night's 3-2 loss in Montreal to the Canadiens. Working overtime hasn't been too productive for the Ning as they are 3-7 in their last ten games with just one win in their last five games.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)Post. Times. Caps.com.

Neutral Views:

NHL.com AP Wire.

Open Source Intelligence:

St. Petersburg Times: overtime loss, apology accepted, Game Preview. Tampa Tribune: conquered, the best revenge.

What Do We Expect Tonight?:

Expecting some kind of bloodbath tonight? Well don't, not even on the scoreboard. First of all, the Ning would be stupid to try to extract physical revenge tonight for A.O.'s goal celebration last week for two reasons. There is no doubt that the NHL will be paying close attention to this game and has made that known to both the Caps and the Ning. Any headhunting will be harshly punished. Furthermore, The Code...er...Crock dictates that you wait until you are on your own home ice before you take your pound of flesh. People forget that there was a Vancouver-Colorado game in Colorado where nothing happened 5 days before Todd Bertuzzi attacked Steve Moore when the teams met again in Vancouver. So you Ultimate Fighting on Ice fans will have to wait until April 9th if you want to see if the Caps and Ning will throw down. Secondly, the Ning have only one loss in regulation in their last eight games and that was the Caps 5-2 win last week. The Ning as a matter of fact have launched two consecutive third period comebacks to force overtime. So don't expect the Ning to quit like they did last week should the Caps build a lead. And about the Caps, Bruce Boudreau is pulling some tricks out of the bag either out of neccessity or just simple experimentation. We happen to think that you don't lose anything by putting John "Coach's Pet" Erskine Bowles on the fourth line. He's replacing Mr. Donald Brashear up there so it isn't as if you're losing any speed in the process. Furthermore, it has the added benefit of getting Erskine Bowles off the blueline which is never a bad thing. The Caps have a playoff spot locked up and have already been declared Southeast Division Champions by Dick's Sporting Goods, so we expect the Caps to continue to have trouble finding motivation for these final games of the season. Now unless the Ning can find something extra for their third game in four night in three cities, the Caps should still be able to come away with their tenth consecutive win over the Ning, just not in very impressive fashion.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 3
Ning 1
Winner by Laich

(10-10 on the season)

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