Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Caps @ Buffaslugs 3-3-2010 Preview

Washington Capitals (41-21; 90 points; 1st Southeast Division, 1st Eastern Conference, 1st Overall) @ Buffaslugs (33-28; 75 points; 2nd Northeast Division, 5th Eastern Conference, 11th Overall):
Caps Game #63, Road Game #34, NHL Game #935

Caps "Magic Numbers" (Caps Points Earned+Lost by team named) to clinch:
Playoff Spot: 13 Tampa Bay and New York Rangers (Toronto eliminated last night)

Southeast Division Championship: 16 Atlanta
Eastern Conference #1 Seed: 29 New Jersey
President's Trophy: 37 San Jose and Chicago


HSBC Arena, Loserville..er...Buffalo, NY 7:07 pm. Washington TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WFED 1500-AM.  Loserville..er...Buffalo TV: MSG-B. Radio: WWGR 550-AM.  U.S. National TV: Versus (Carrying Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic feed). NHL Center Ice: None.

Tonight, the Caps return to action after the Olympic Break looking to end a three game losing streak when they travel up to Loserville..er...Buffalo to face the Buffaslugs for the fourth and final time this season.  In previous three meetings, the home team has held serve with the last meeting in Loserville..er...Buffalo resulting in the Caps being shutout 3-0 on December 9th, the last time the Caps were held without a goal.  The Buffaslugs are looking to keep from falling further back in the Northeast Division race, they are just one point back of the Ottawa Senators but are giving up three games in hand to the Senators.  The Buffaslugs resumed action last night and dropped a 3-2 decision in Pittsburgh to the Penguin Scum as U.S. Olympic Goaltender Ryan Miller took the night off.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)Post.  ExaminerCaps.com.

Neutral Views:

NHL.comAP Wire.

Open Source Intelligence:

The Loserville...er...Buffalo News:  non-start, sinking in.

What Do We Expect Tonight?:

After a two and half week layoff for most of the team, the Caps have 20 games over the next five and half weeks to end the regular season.  Tonight they're starting a three games in four nights run and have 10 games over the next 17 days.  And did we mention that the trade deadline is at 3 pm today?  So much for easing back into things but that's what you get when the NHL shuts down the league for the Olympic games.  The last time General Manager George McPhee made a move this season, it really shook the team up.  The Caps lost three games in a row and really looked to be in a funk the whole time after Captain Chris Clark and Milan Jurcina were sent away for Jason Chimera.  While we don't think that will play into the decision making process for McPhee today, any player he does acquire is not likely to be available for tonight's game but a player being dealt away could create a small hole in the lineup.  So we'll be like every other hockey fan today wearing out the F5 button surfing around for updates, wondering what is going to happen.  We should note though that Caps fans (in their usual reserved and calm demeanor) are already passing out the pitchforks and torches convinced that McPhee is not going to make a move today resulting in the Caps getting bounced in the first round.  But with the game tonight it is hard to judge how the Caps will come out of the break.  One thing that we're pretty sure of is that the with practices that Bruce Boudreau was craving before the break finally taking place,the Caps will tighten up their defensive coverage.  Luckily for the Caps, the Buffaslugs are a middle-of-road bunch offensively even though they are the best offense the Caps will face this week.  On the other side of the ice, the Buffaslugs will give Ryan Miller his first start since Sunday's Gold Medal game and the question begs how much Olympic fatigue has set in.  Miller has done well against the Caps in his career, posting a 10-5 record while allowing 46 goals in 35 games and the Caps just have all kinds of trouble winning in Loserville...er...Buffalo.  So it will be another wait and see approach to tonight's game.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 2
Buffaslugs 4
Winner by Vanek
 (33-29 on the season with one perfect game)

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