Thursday, December 03, 2009

Caps vs. Panthers 12-3-2009 Preview

Washington Capitals (16-11; 38 points) vs. Florida Panthers (11-16; 26 points):
Caps Game #28, Home Game #14, NHL Game #400

Verizon Center, Washington, D.C. 7:05 pm. Washington TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WFED 1500-AM. Florida TV: Fox Sportsnet Florida. Radio: WAXY 790-AM.  NHL Center Ice: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, Fox Sportsnet Florida feeds.

Tonight, the Caps make a pit stop at home before heading out on a three game road trip when they face the Florida Panthers.  This is the third meeting of the two teams this season, the Caps swept a home-and-home set last month, and the second of three appearances of the Panthers in the Phone Booth this year.  The Panthers last night blew a 5-4 lead with 42 seconds left in the third period but recovered to earn a gimmick win over the Colorado Avalanche at home to end a five a game losing streak.  This will be Florida's third game in four nights.


What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)PostTimes.  Caps.com.

Neutral Views:

NHL.comAP Wire.

Open Source Intelligence:

Miami Herald: goalie runs, feeling sorry.

What Do We Expect Tonight?:

One might initially think that having to play tonight without A.O. would be a cause of concern for the Caps, but don't forget folks, the Caps beat Florida 4-1 and 7-4 back in November when A.O. was missing due to his shoulder injury.  While Alexander "Slappy" Semin should be returning to the lineup tonight, the Caps will still need a strong effort against a tired Florida team.  The Panthers faded badly in the third period against the Caps the last time they played back-to-back games coming up from Florida so don't be too surprised if the Caps rip off another 5 goal third period.  The X Factor tonight however is Alexander Salak.  (Who???)  He's the goaltender the Panthers recalled to take the place of Tomas Vokun after Keith Ballard whacked Vokun upside the head on Monday night.  Considering the lackluster performance turned in by Scott Clemmensen the last times these two teams met, Florida Head Coach DeBoer has nothing to lose by throwing the 22 year old rookie into the net for his second NHL start.  Oh, and lookout for Ballard too, he took out his second goalie in as many games last night when he ran Craig Anderson in overtime last night.  At least this time, it wasn't his own goaltender.  The Caps will want to protect whoever is in net tonight.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 5
Panthers 3
Winner by Backstrom
(12-15 on the season with one perfect game)

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