Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Caps @ Bruins 2-2-2010 Preview

Washington Capitals (37-18; 80 points; 1st Southeast Division, 1st Eastern Conference, 2nd Overall) @ Boston Bruins (23-30; 55 points; 3rd Northeast Division, 11th Eastern Conference, 24th Overall):
Caps Game #56, Road Game #29, NHL Game #827

Caps "Magic Numbers" (Caps Points Earned+Lost by team named) to clinch:
Playoff Spot: 31 Tampa Bay

Southeast Division Championship: 32 Atlanta
Eastern Conference #1 Seed: 48 New Jersey
President's Trophy: 55 San Jose


TD BankNorth Garden, Boston, MA, 7:07 pm. Washington TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WFED 1500-AM. Boston TV: NESN. Radio: WWBZ 98.5-FM.  NHL Center Ice: NESN and Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic feeds.

Tonight, the Caps return to where it all began this season when they head up to Beantown for the second and final time this season to face the Bruins.  The Caps posted a 4-1 win over the Bruins on opening night in one of their most complete performances of the season.  The Bruins, who finished first in the Eastern Conference last year, are a part of the group of teams fighting for their playoff lives right now.  Boston sits two points back of 8th place Florida but have three games in hand on the Panthers.  Complicating matters for Bruins is the seven game losing streak the Bruins are currently on including their last six games on home ice.  The Bruins were able to squeeze out a Bettman Point for the first time in six games on Saturday night when they blew a 2-1 lead at home and lost 3-2 to the Los Angeles Kings in a gimmick in their last outing.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)Post.  Examiner.  Caps.com.

Neutral Views:

NHL.comAP Wire.

Open Source Intelligence:

Boston Globe-Democrat: more injuries, Caps ThumbnailsBoston Herald.

What Do We Expect Tonight?:

Well folks, is this a trap game or what?  The Caps are riding a franchise record tying winning streak while the Bruins are on their longest home ice losing streak in 85 years.  Sounds like the Caps franchise record will be broken tonight right?  Well as much as the Bruins have struggled in TD Banknorth Garden, their last win there came on December 30th against Atlanta, the Caps have only 2 wins in their last 16 trips into the building.  Granted, the last two wins came in the last two games the Caps have played there but you can't call that building the Caps "home away from home."  The Bruins have taken another hit with the loss of defenseman Mark Stuart and now find themselves at a crossroads.  While they sit in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, they still have enough games in hand that they don't need any help in passing the teams ahead of them to get back into the playoffs.  However, for like most teams on the edge of the playoffs, time is a wasting.  The Bruins don't have the time to feel sorry for themselves over their plight and need to get going if they want to make the playoffs.  The Bruins haven't figured out how to replace Phil Kessel's goal scoring from last year which is one of the reasons why they're the lowest scoring team in the NHL this year.  There's no doubt that Boston's best chance at winning tonight is to pack everything in and force the Caps to try to grind out a win because they can't get into a shootout with the Caps.  The Caps are going to have to show a lot of patience on offense tonight and play another complete game.  The Bruins are ranked third in the NHL on the Penalty Kill so the Caps cannot depend upon their top ranked Power Play tonight to bail them out, especially with Mike "BEAM ME UP" Green sitting out the second game of a three game suspension.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 3
Bruins 1
Winner by Fleischmann
(28-27 on the season with one perfect game)

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