Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Caps vs. Canadiens 1-5-2010 Preview

Washington Capitals (24-17; 54 points; 1st Southeast Division, 3rd Eastern Conference, 5th Overall) vs. Montreal Canadiens (21-23; 45 points; 4th Northeast Division, 8th Eastern Conference, 18th Overall):
Caps Game #42, Home Game #19, NHL Game #631

Caps "Magic Numbers" (Caps Points Earned+Lost by team named) to clinch:
Playoff Spot: 70 Atlanta and Tampa Bay
Southeast Division Championship: 70 Atlanta and Tampa Bay
Eastern Conference #1 Seed: 89 New Jersey
President's Trophy: 89 New Jersey

Verizon Center, Washington, D.C. 7:07 pm. Washington TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic Plus. Radio: WFED 1500-AM. Montreal TV: None. Radio: CJAD 880-AM.  Canadian National TV: RDS (French)  NHL Center Ice: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic Plus feed.

Tonight the Caps look to end a three game losing streak and win their first game since the trade when they host the Montreal Canadiens for the second and final time this season.  The Canadiens claimed a 3-2 victory in the Phone Booth back in November with the Caps getting a 4-3 gimmick win 8 days later in Montreal to split the season series at 1 game a piece.  The Canadiens have been on a roll recently, winning six of their last eight games.  However, they lost their last outing, 1-0, to the Buffaslugs in Montreal.  Montreal has also won six of their last seven road games.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)PostExaminer.  Caps.com.

Neutral Views:

NHL.comAP wire.

Open Source Intelligence:

The Gazette.

What Do We Expect Tonight?:

Well folks, for the first time all season, we head into a game with a ton of questions.  First of all, which goaltender gets the nod tonight for the start?  Recent history indicates that Bruce Boudreau will go with Michal "Bebe" Neuvirth tonight over Jose "Alvin, Simon," Theodore to try to break the losing streak.  With Semyon "The Saviour" Varlamov heading into six week injury land, something the Caps were trying to avoid, we can only imagine what the excuse will be for continuing to bench your only experienced starting goaltender.  Furthermore, now that it has been over a week since the Caps traded away their team captain, will the Caps finally place the "C" on somebody's chest?  With yet another slow start in L.A. after two days of bag skates it is looking like leadership is becoming an issue with this team.  While it is a cause for concern that nobody has stepped up to lead this team, the time has come for the organization to make the choice for the players and get things back on track.  This is only the captaincy of the Washington Capitals, not the See of Peter.  It's time to move from Chris Clark and name a new team captain.  Finally, how will the team come out tonight?  While the slow starts have set them back in their last three games (games in which they've never led) they've been improving slightly in that they've been behind at the first intermission, 3-0, 2-0, and 1-0 respectively.  Would 0-0 be considered enough improvement to get over the hump?  While Montreal has been playing well on the road recently and they do have a regulation win in the Phone Booth already this season (against Bebe too), they have only beaten one of their last seven opponents who have a .500 record.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 2
Canadiens 4
Winner by Gionta
(20-21 on the season with one perfect game)



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