Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Game 4 Caps @ Rangers 4-22-2009 Preview

Series B: Washington Capitals (51-34; 108 points; 1st Southeast Division, 2nd Eastern Conference, 4th Overall) vs. New York Rangers (45-40; 95 points; 4th Atlantic Division; 7th Eastern Conference, 12th Overall):
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Game #4, Caps Game #4, Road Game #2, NHL Game #124

Madison Square Garden, New York, NY. 7:10 pm. Washington TV: Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WJFK 106.7-FM, WTOP 1050-AM. New York TV: MSG. Radio: WEPN 1050-AM. U.S. National TV: Versus. Canadian National TV: TSN.

Tonight the Caps try to climb out of the hole they dug for themselves last week when they face the Rangers in Game 4 and return to even footing by reclaiming their home ice advantage. The Caps are 14-13 All-Time in Game 4, 7-6 on the road, but 3-7 when trailing in the series 2-1.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)Post. Times: stealing the show, hindrance, playing hurt.

Neutral Views: AP Wire, quiet worker, steady improvement, necessary medicine, smarter player.

Open Source Intelligence:

MSG. Newsday: new factor, momentum mashers, getting it back, doesn't need to score. New York Daily News. New York Times.

Open Source Stupidity:

MSG. New York Post: challenge issued, still in it.

We Do We Expect Tonight?:

Well folks, this one is going to be a donnybrook tonight and that is what you usually get when you have two teams playing a MUST WIN GAME. For the Caps, there's really no difference between being down in the series 3-1 or 3-0. So in essence, the Rangers had a game to play with and that is exactly what they did in Game 3 on Monday night. However, there is a world of difference between being down 3-1 and being tied at 2 a piece. If the Caps can win tonight, they will reclaim home ice advantage and roll into the Phone Booth on Friday night with all the momentum on their side. The pressure will increase on the Rangers because their fast start would have been completely erased and the Series will become a best of 3. However, should the Caps lose tonight, the Caps are one Henrik Lundqvist stolen game away from being eliminated in the first round for the second year in a row. All the good feelings generated by Monday night's win will be lost. The first goal of tonight's game will be huge even though scoring first hasn't been a true indicator of success, the team to score first is 2-1 so far. But the Caps need to get to Lundqvist first as usual and it would be even better if A.O. could do it first because that would really wear on the Rangers knowing that he has found his scoring touch again. The best way for the Caps and A.O. to do that is to score before their third Power Play of the game comes around. The Rangers on the other hand have got to get one past Simeon Varlamov early. The longer he holds the Rangers off the scoreboard, the more it benefits the Caps because the Rangers are much more limited offensively than the Caps are. The Caps have outscored the Rangers 7-5 in the three games so far and Varlamov has only given up 1 goal in the two games he has played. We don't expect Varlamov to pitch another shutout tonight, but the Rangers will gain loads of confidence from just one goal. Furthermore, we expect the Rangers to play a better game tonight than they did on Monday and with Lundqvist playing better as the series has progressed, this game could take an overtime period or three to sort out before it is all over.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 1
Rangers 2
Winner by Gomez

(0-3 in the postseason)

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