Thursday, January 07, 2010

Caps vs. Senators 1-7-2010 Preview

Washington Capitals (25-17; 56 points; 1st Southeast Division, 3rd Eastern Conference, 6th Overall) vs. Ottawa Senators (22-21; 48 points; 3rd Northeast Division, 6th Eastern Conference, 15th Overall):
Caps Game #43, Home Game #20, NHL Game #646

Caps "Magic Numbers" (Caps Points Earned+Lost by team named) to clinch:
Playoff Spot: 66 Atlanta and Tampa Bay
Southeast Division Championship: 66 Atlanta and Tampa Bay
Eastern Conference #1 Seed: 87 New Jersey
President's Trophy: 87 New Jersey

Verizon Center, Washington, D.C. 7:07 pm. Washington TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WFED 1500-AM. Ottawa TV: None. Radio: CFGO 1200-AM.  Canadian National TV: TSN NHL Center Ice: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, TSN feeds.

Tonight, the Caps conclude this week's pair of home games when they host the Ottawa Senators for the first time this season.  The Caps dropped a 3-1 third period lead in a 4-3 decision in Ottawa to the Senators back in November.  The Senators are doing alright since losing Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza to long-term injuries in a span of eight days.  Since Alfredsson went down with a separated shoulder right before Christmas, the Senators are 4-2.  However in their last game on Monday night, they lost at home to Boston 4-1.

What The Natives Are Saying:


Neutral Views:

NHL.comAP Wire.

Open Source Intelligence:

Ottawa Citizen: consistency, predictions.  Ottawa Sun: princess days, numbers game.

What Do We Expect Tonight?:

The last time the Senators visited the Phone Booth, it cost their head coach his job.  We doubt that a loss tonight will seal the fate of Cory Clouston but we don't like his chances of coming away with a win tonight either.  The Senators have had troubles on the road this season, and especially Washington since 2006, their offense has taken a hit with the injuries to Alfreddsson and Spezza, and they've been plauged by inconsistent goaltending behind a porous defense all season.  Yet the Caps are an offensive juggernaut with goaltending and defense that is better than most people realize, but not as good as some want, and a little inconsistent itself.  However, the Caps have been finding ways this season to take mismatches like these and make them closer than they really should be.  The last time these two teams met, the Caps got off to the good start every team looks for on the road but just couldn't finish.  We think that will be the key tonight.  The Caps know they can build a lead on a team like the Senators, it is finishing them off that has been problematic so the Caps have to finish.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 4
Senators 3
Winner by Knuble
(20-22 on the season with one perfect game)



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