Friday, December 18, 2009

Caps @ Canucks 12-18-2009 Preview

Washington Capitals (21-13; 48 points) @ Vancouver Canucks (19-15; 38 points):
Caps Game #35, Road Game #20, NHL Game #516

Government Motors Place, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 10:07 pm. Washington TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WFED 1500-AM. Vancouver TV: None. Radio: CKST 1040-AM.  Canadian National TV: TSN.  NHL Center Ice: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, TSN feeds.

Tonight the Caps start a back-to-back set of games in Western Canada when they face the Vancouver Canucks for the first and only time this season.  There has been some thought that Vancouver might be the best team in the Western Conference, if they could only stay healthy which explains their current 10th place standing.  The Canucks are starting to get their players worked back into the lineup and have been playing better recently with five wins in their last eight games.  However in their last outing on Wednesday night, the Anaheim Ducks snapped Vancouver's 8 game home winning streak with a 3-2 victory.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)PostTimes.  Caps.com.

Neutral Views:

NHL.comAP Wire.

Open Source Intelligence:

Vancouver Province: the best there is, lobbying for his guy, conditioning stint.  Vancouver Sun: the one and only, challenge accepted, heading out.

What Do We Expect Tonight?:

First of all, we're not at all surprised by the NHL's decision to only fine David Koci, it has long been open season on Washington Capitals players and we've told you many times that the NHL's disciplinary measures are arbitrary and capricious.  But getting back to tonight's game, we don't get to see him very often but we're very mindful of how glad we were that the Florida Panthers traded goaltender Roberto Luongo to Vancouver.  Instead of having to face him six times a year, the Caps only have to face him once, maybe twice a year.  Luongo has been a nightmare for the Caps ever since he came into the league and is the closest thing the NHL has in terms of Kryptonite for A.O., posting a 9-1 record in games against the Caps since A.O. came into the league while allowing only four goals on 54 shots from A.O.  The Caps as a team haven't won in Vancouver since February 14th, 2001.  We're not too concerned about Vancouver's 6-1 record against the East, Colorado was 7-2 against the East before facing the Caps on Tuesday night but Vancouver is a more mature and older team.  While there may be a buzz in town because the Caps have arrived, the Canucks seem more concerned about getting themselves together than trying to prove themselves against one of the elite teams in the league and they're very tough to beat at home.  We figure this will be a slow, grind it out, low scoring affair.  The Caps have shown that they can play this type of game and still win, but they're much more likely to lose playing that way.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 2
Canucks 3
Winner by Rypien
(17-17 on the season with one perfect game)

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