Thursday, March 18, 2010

Caps @ Canes 3-18-2010 Preview

Washington Capitals (47-23; 103 points; 1st Southeast Division, 1st Eastern Conference, 1st Overall) @ Carolina Hurricanes (28-41; 64 points; 5th Southeast Division, 14th Eastern Conference, 28th Overall):
Caps Game #71, Road Game #37, NHL Game #1,044

Caps "Magic Numbers" (Caps Points Earned+Lost by team named) to clinch:
Playoff Spot: Clinched 3/11

Southeast Division Championship: Clinched 3/11
Eastern Conference #1 Seed: 10 New Jersey (8 of 14 eliminated)
President's Trophy: 19 San Jose (12 of 29 eliminated)


RBC Center, Raleigh, NC, 7:07 pm. Washington TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WFED 1500-AM. Carolina TV: Fox Sportsnet Carolina. Radio: WCMC 99.9-FM.  NHL Center Ice: Fox Sportsnet Carolina and Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic feeds.

Tonight, the Caps continue on their road trip when they head on over to Raleigh to face the Carolina Hurricanes for the fifth time this season.  Despite being stuck in the bottom of the Southeast Division all season, the Canes have given the Caps a bit of trouble this season earning points in three of the four games so far this season and all three Caps wins over the Canes have been by just one goal like last weeks 4-3 win in overtime.  After that game, the Canes rebounded to beat the Penguin Scum in overtime to start a four game homestand but have lost their last two games.  First 4-0 to Phoenix on Saturday night and then 5-2 to Boston on Tuesday night to just about snuff out any thoughts the Hurricanes might of had about going on a run to make the playoffs this season.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)PostCaps.com.

Neutral Views:

NHL.comAP Wire.

Open Source Intelligence:

Raleigh News & Observer.

What Do We Expect Tonight?:

It will be interesting to see which Carolina team the Caps face tonight in Raleigh.  Will it be the Canes team that has played them tough all season or will it be the one that is playing out the string?  It looks as if the Chicago game and the Captain A.O. suspension have given the Caps a wake-up call late in the season.  If that is the case, the Caps could end up making quick work of Carolina rookie goaltender Justin Peters who is expected to get the task of taking on the Caps tonight.  But even if the Caps don't make quick work of Peters, who stopped 37 of 40 shots last week against the Penguin Scum to get the 4-3 overtime win, the Caps again simply have too much for Carolina to deal with.  However, the Canes can and will make it close if the Canes play as loose in their own zone as they did on Tuesday night.  Semyon "The Saviour" Varlamov is the expected starter in goal for the Caps tonight so the Caps will need to protect in front of him better.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 3
Canes 2
Winner by Walker
(38-32 on the season with one perfect game)

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