Sunday, January 31, 2010

Caps vs. Ning 1-31-2010 Preview

Washington Capitals (36-18; 78 points; 1st Southeast Division, 1st Eastern Conference, 3rd Overall) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (22-31; 58 points; 4th Southeast Division, 12th Eastern Conference, 25th Overall):
Caps Game #55, Home Game #27, NHL Game #818

Caps "Magic Numbers" (Caps Points Earned+Lost by team named) to clinch:
Playoff Spot: 34 Atlanta

Southeast Division Championship: 35 Tampa Bay
Eastern Conference #1 Seed: 52 New Jersey
President's Trophy: 57 San Jose


Verizon Center, Washington, D.C., 3:07 pm. Washington TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WFED 1500-AM. Tampa TV: Sunshine Network. Radio: WDAE 620-AM.  NHL Center Ice: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic feed.

Today the Caps look to make it a perfect 10 when they face the last team to beat them before this nine game winning streak started, the Tampa Bay Lightning.  This is only the third of six meetings between the two teams this year and the first of three in D.C.  The Ning are coming off Friday night's 2-1 gimmick loss at home to the Anaheim Ducks.  The gimmick loss snapped a three game winning streak for the Ning.  However the Ning have lost four of their last six games on the road.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)PostCaps.com.

Neutral Views:

NHL.comAP Wire.

Open Source Intelligence:

St. Petersburg Times: goalie shuffle, sale closing, notes, preview.  Tampa Tribune: ready to rumble, trade barrier.  Ning.com.


What Do We Expect Today?:

The first time these two teams met, Semyon "The Saviour" Varlamov" pitched a shutout on December 7th and hasn't been seen since.  The last time the Caps played the Ning it was the last time the Caps lost a game.  So what will the Caps leave behind after today's game?  But the more serious question is how will the Caps Power Play do without it's quarterback in Mike "BEAM ME UP" Green?  Tyler Sloan is expected to return to the lineup but won't be skating on the Power Play.  Bruce Boudreau has used Brendan Morrrissonn on the point before but that will give us five forwards on the ice which is a dangerous situation against a team that has attacked on the Penalty Kill in the past.  However the Ning have just one shorthanded goal this season and their road penalty killing is almost as bad as the Caps is.  Finally, in the 7-4 loss 19 days ago, the Caps allowed four Power Play goals.  If the Caps want to come away with a win today, they'll have to keep that from happening again.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 4
Ning 3
Winner by Captain A.O.
(27-27 on the season with one perfect game) 

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