Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Caps vs. Red Wings 1-19-2010 Preview

Washington Capitals (30-18; 66 points; 1st Southeast Division, 1st Eastern Conference, 3rd Overall) vs. Detroit Red Wings (24-24; 56 points; 3rd Central Division, 9th Western Conference, 13th Overall):
Caps Game #49, Home Game #23, NHL Game #735

Caps "Magic Numbers" (Caps Points Earned+Lost by team named) to clinch:
Playoff Spot: 51 Atlanta
Southeast Division Championship: 51 Atlanta
Eastern Conference #1 Seed: 70 Buffalsugs
President's Trophy: 72 Chicago


Verizon Center, Washington, D.C., 3:07 pm. Washington TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WFED 1500-AM. Detroit TV: Fox Sportsnet Detroit. Radio: WXYT 97.1-FM.  NHL Center Ice: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic and Fox Sportsnet Detroit feeds.

Tonight, the Caps face the Detroit Red Wings for the second and final time this season to close out a three game homestand.  Detroit won the first matchup this season in Detroit back in October by a score of 3-2 before the barrage of injuries really started to take their toll.  The Red Wings are in a dog fight just to make the playoffs this year and are in dire need of every point they can get.  The Red Wings have lost three of their last four games and two in a row in gimmicks including Sunday's game against the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 in Detroit.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)PostExaminer.  Caps.com.

Neutral Views:

NHL.comAP Wire.

Open Source Intelligence:

Detroit Free Press: tough task, shared housing, new owners needed.


What Do We Expect Tonight?:

Well folks, as has been mentioned ad nauseum, it's another measuring stick game for the Caps tonight.  Which is a little interesting to us considering that the Caps have been in the Top 5 of the NHL for most of the season.  Yet if the Caps were to win tonight's game, we're sure somebody somewhere is going to point out how badly injured the Red Wings are and have been all season to discount the achievement.  But no matter, the Red Wings remain a formidable opponent and a team that isn't taken lightly no matter where they are in the standings.   They've found some solace recently in the play of 25 year old goaltender Jimmy Howard who has taken over the #1 position from Chris Osgood.  While Osgood has always found a way to bounce back, he's now 37 and the likelihood of him reclaiming the #1 spot for an extended period of time is rather small.  The challenge that the Red Wings present is that they enter this game tonight as the best team defensively that the Caps will face this week.  The Caps have been scoring at a high rate recently and will need to show tonight that they can grind one out.  They got three of their five goals on Sunday by getting to the front of the net and two of them came off of rebounds.  They'll need to do that tonight in order to win.  But just because Detroit isn't as notoriously physical as the Flyers doesn't mean that it will be any easier for the Caps to get to the front of the net.  And while they're not scoring much in the way of goals this season, the Red Wings will also put the Caps defensive coverage to the test for an all around workout tonight. 

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 2
Red Wings 3
Winner by Datsyuk
(24-24 on the season with one perfect game)

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