Saturday, February 13, 2010

Caps @ Blues 2-13-2010 Preview

Washington Capitals (41-20; 89 points; 1st Southeast Division, 1st Eastern Conference, 1st Overall) @ St. Louis Blues (27-34; 63 points; 4th Central Division, 12th Western Conference, 19th Overall):
Caps Game #62, Road Game #33, NHL Game #911

Caps "Magic Numbers" (Caps Points Earned+Lost by team named) to clinch:
Playoff Spot: 18 Atlanta

Southeast Division Championship: 20 Tampa Bay
Eastern Conference #1 Seed: 32 New Jersey
President's Trophy: 42 San Jose


Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO 8:07 pm. Washington TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WFED 1500-AM.  St. Louis TV: Fox Sportsnet Mid-West. Radio: KMOX 1120-AM.  NHL Center Ice: Fox Sportsnet Mid-West feed.

Tonight, the Caps wrap up the pre-Olympic portion of their schedule when they travel to St. Louis to face the Blues for the only time this season.  Last year the Caps claimed a 4-2 win in the Phone Booth over the Blues in the only meeting between the two teams.  A surprise playoff team one year ago, the Blues are seeing their playoff hopes for this year slowly fade as they current sit 12th in the loaded Western Conference.  St. Louis currently sits four points back of 8th place Calgary but has no games in hand on the Flames.  The three teams ahead of St. Louis all have one game in hand on the Blues which makes moving past them difficult.  The Blues however have won two in a row and three of their last six games.  They shutout the Toronto Maple Thug Leafs last night at home 4-0 for only their 11th win on home ice this season, tying them with Toronto and the Edmonton Oilers for fewest home ice wins in the NHL.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)PostCaps.com.

Neutral Views:

NHL.comAP Wire.

Open Source Intelligence:

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: bigger fish to fry, star-struck, Game Preview.

What Do We Expect Tonight?:

Well folks, you've got another tough one to call tonight.  This is the last game for both teams before the Olympic Break starts so how many players are going to be focused entirely on tonight's game?  Tomorrow morning some of the players will be going to Vancouver to take part in the Olympic Tournament while the others will be scattering to various vacation spots for a week and a half.  Secondly, we don't put much stock in St. Louis having an anemic offense because the Caps just allowed Montreal and Ottawa to score six goals a piece.   The offensive groove the Blues found last night against the Thug Leafs might just continue tonight as well if the Caps don't tighten things up.  Then there's the little X-factor in that the Caps haven't won in St. Louis since October 26th, 1996.  Dale Hunter popped in the game winning goal as Jim Carey made 25 saves for the win that night.  Andrew Brunette scored a shorthanded goal as Jason Allison added a pair for the Caps in that game.  The Caps of course went on to miss the playoffs for the first time in fourteen years that season.  With the St. Louis players complaining about playing 7 games in 11 days with 5 of them being at home, we really do think that this game tonight will come down to focus.  The team with the better focus is going to win tonight's game.  The luxury that the Caps have is that they don't need to hold their focus for 60 minutes to beat a team like St. Louis.  However, the Caps will need to break their habit of starting off slow.  If the Caps can get out to an early lead tonight, St. Louis may pack things in and just head on into the Olympic Break.  But with the way the Caps have been playing defense lately, the Blues won't be too shy about opening thing up and things could get dicey.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 5
Blues 3
Winner by Semin
(33-28 on the season with one perfect game)

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