Saturday, October 03, 2009

Caps vs. Maple Thug Leafs 10-3-2009 Preview

Washington Capitals (1-0; 2 points) vs. Toronto Maple Thug Leafs (0-1; 1 point):
Caps Game #2, Home Game #1, NHL Game #15

Verizon Center, Washington, D.C., 7:07 pm. Washington TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WJFK 106.7-FM. Toronto TV: None. Radio: CFMJ 640-AM. U.S. National TV: NHL Network. Canadian National TV: CBC. NHL Center Ice: None.

Tonight the Caps open up the home slate for the 2009-2010 season against the retooled (and we mean tooled) Toronto Maple Thug Leafs. The Thug Leafs are trying to fight their way, literally, into a playoff spot as they've missed them for the last four seasons. The teams split the four games last year and the Thug Leafs are coming off a loss in overtime on opening night at home to Montreal on Thursday night.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)Post: growing up, popular guy. Times. Caps.com.

Neutral Views:

NHL.com. AP Wire.

Open Source Intelligence:

Toronto Globe and Mail. Toronto Star: who's in goal, freaked out. Toronto Sun: improved defense, lineup changes, returning to the lineup, great expectations, dieting, prediction.

What Do We Expect Tonight?:

Tonight it is the Caps turn to get the emotional bump of playing in front of their home crowd for the first time this season. After a 2 for 4 performance on Thursday night, General Manager George McPhee's decision to beef up the power play in face of overly physical teams will be tested for the first time tonight. However, no matter what the outcome of tonight's game is, the final verdict will hardly be reached. We don't expect the Thug Leafs to sit back and try to absorb the Caps opening push tonight and instead try to initiate something early on which would only serve to get the crowd even more riled up. Bruce Boudreau is going with Semyon "The Saviour" Varlamov in net tonight despite the strong performance of Jose "Alvin, Simon" Theodore on Thursday. The Saviour was undefeated in the preseason but faded in the third period in all of his games. Now that the games count for real, the Caps cannot afford that tonight.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 5
Thug Leafs 2
Winner by Semin

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