Saturday, January 09, 2010

Caps @ Thrashers 1-9-2010 Preview

Washington Capitals (28-17; 58 points; 1st Southeast Division, 3rd Eastern Conference, 5th Overall) @ Atlanta Thrashers  (19-24; 44 points; 2nd Southeast Division, 10th Eastern Conference, 21st Overall):
Caps Game #44, Road Game #24, NHL Game #666 (YIKES!)

Caps "Magic Numbers" (Caps Points Earned+Lost by team named) to clinch:
Playoff Spot: 64 Atlanta and Tampa Bay
Southeast Division Championship: 64 Atlanta and Tampa Bay
Eastern Conference #1 Seed: 85 New Jersey
President's Trophy: 85 New Jersey


Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA, 7:07 pm. Washington TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WFED 1500-AM. Atlanta TV: SportSouth. Radio: WCNN 680-AM.  NHL Center Ice: SportSouth feed.

Tonight, the Caps start a three game road trip that will take them through most of the Southeast Division when they head down to Dixie to face the Atlanta Thrashers.  This is the final trip for the Caps to Atlanta this season as the Caps swept a pair of games there back in October.  The Thrashers have yet to play in D.C. this season and are currently just outside of the playoff bracket in the Eastern Conference.  Atlanta snapped a nine game losing streak on Thursday night when they claimed a 2-1 gimmick win over the New York Rangers at home.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)PostCaps.com.

Neutral Views:

NHL.comAP Wire.

Open Source Intelligence:

Atlanta Journal Constitution.

What Do We Expect Tonight?:

With this being a division game, the first thing you do is throw the records and past history out.  Carolina taught us that lesson 12 days ago.  Not too terribly long ago, there was some very bad blood between these two teams.  There's also a few personal rivalries going on between Head Coaches John Anderson and Bruce Boudreau and star franchise players and team captains Ilya Kovalchuk and Captain A.O. to spice things up a bit.  Yes, Atlanta has been playing poorly recently but they eked out a gimmick win on Thursday night.  Furthermore, two of their last three losses have come beyond regulation and six of the nine losses in the recently ended streak were by one goal.  So Atlanta hasn't been playing that poorly, they just haven't been getting the results.  A game against a team like the Capitals could be all they need to bust out and going in the right direction again.  While a win tonight would help wrap up another division title, it would at best put the Caps only two points closer as Tampa Bay is two points behind the Thrashers with a game in hand.  We should note that the Ning had a 3-0 lead in New Jersey last night when the Devils couldn't figure out how to turn the power on.  The Ning are in Philadelphia tonight and a regulation loss there combined with a Caps regulation win in Atlanta would only drop the Magic Number by two points.  However, no matter what the lead is, there is still plenty of hockey left to play after tonight's game.  A win won't wrap up the division and a loss won't make it a race again.  But getting back to tonight's game, the Caps were undefeated within their division before 12 days ago and have trouble playing in arenas without much atmosphere.  We hope the Caps aren't putting too much emphasis on tonight's game because if the Caps do and don't jump out to an early lead, their frustration will quickly grow and make things easier for Atlanta.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 6
Thrashers 4
Winner by Semin
(21-22 on the season with one perfect game)

Editorial Note For The Dozens of Readers of This Blog:

Silly us thinking that now that the Redskins season has come to a merciful conclusion that things would slow down.  However that is definitely not the case today as we have a number of social engagements to attend to and therefore will not be watching tonight's game.  That means no Post-Mortem later.

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