Sunday, March 28, 2010

Caps vs. Flames 3-28-2010 Preview

Washington Capitals (49-25; 109 points; 1st Southeast Division, 1st Eastern Conference, 1st Overall) vs. Calgary Flames (37-37; 83 points; 3rd Northwest Division, 9th Western Conference, 14th Overall):
Caps Game #75, Home Game #36, NHL Game #1,122

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: 1 New Jersey (Buffaslugs eliminated on Friday 13th of 14)
President's Trophy: 9 Chicago (Vancouver eliminated last night 25th of 29)

Verizon Center, Washington, D.C., 3:07 pm. Washington TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WFED 1500-AM. Calgary TV: Rogers Sportsnet West. Radio: CFAC 960-AM.  NHL Center Ice: Comcast SportNet Mid-Atlantic and Rogers Sportsnet West feeds.

Today the Caps have a chance to officially secure the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference without any help from anybody else when they open up a three game homestand by hosting the Calgary Flames. This is the first and only meeting between the two teams this season, last year the Caps lost to the Flames 2-1 in Calgary.  The Flames however have not won in D.C. since March 13th, 1999.  The Flames had been in a battle with Detroit for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference but have picked a bad time to go into a slump.  The Flames have lost three of their last five games including both games on their 3 game east coast trip which wraps up today in D.C.  Yesterday they were beaten badly by the Boston Bruins, 5-0.

What The Natives Are Saying:


Neutral Views:

NHL.comAP Wire.

Open Source Intelligence:

Calgary Herald.  Calgary Sun: faith no more, new leadership, sending a message, dead man talking.

What Do We Expect Today?:

When a team takes a severe tongue lashing in the press like the Calgary Flames did today, there is only two things that can happen.  They can either come out and play some of the most inspired hockey anybody has ever seen or they can fall completely apart and skate zombie-like through the rest of the season.  Right now we have to think that the Flames are going to choose the latter rather than the former based upon the comments from the Calgary players themselves over yesterday's beatdown in Boston by the Bruins.  The Flames know that they laid a major egg and yet there was not a single hint of anger in the quotes published.  Not even by Head Coach Brent Sutter.  Maybe some anger set in on the flight from Boston to D.C.  Maybe some anger will form as they slept last night.  But it is not likely the case here.  In addition to coming off two ugly losses, the Flames are playing their third game in four days on the road.  They made the trip from West to East which is always harder and shouldn't have much in the tank for today's game with the Caps.  The key for the Caps today is to jump on the Flames early and often.  The Caps cannot afford to allow the Flames to stick around because the longer the Caps do, the more likely it will be that the Flames come to life and give the Caps a fight.  Today is a good chance for the Caps to hone their killer instinct in taking out a team that has already given up which is something they'll need when they playoffs start in two and half weeks.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 7
Flames 1
Winner by Knuble
(40-34 on the season with one perfect game)



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