Saturday, March 06, 2010

Caps vs. Rangers 3-6-2010 Preview

Washington Capitals (43-21; 94 points; 1st Southeast Division, 1st Eastern Conference, 1st Overall) vs. New York Rangers (29-35; 66 points; 3rd Atlantic Division, 9th Eastern Conference, 22nd Overall):
Caps Game #65, Home Game #31, NHL Game #958

Caps "Magic Numbers" (Caps Points Earned+Lost by team named) to clinch:
Playoff Spot: 8 New York Rangers

Southeast Division Championship: 12 Atlanta
Eastern Conference #1 Seed: 23 New Jersey
President's Trophy: 33 San Jose and Chicago

Verizon Center, Washington, DC 7:07 pm. Washington TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WFED 1500-AM. New York TV: MSG Plus. Radio: WNYM 970-AM.  Canadian National TV: RDS (French). NHL Center Ice: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic and MSG Plus feeds.

Tonight the Caps continue their homestand when they face the Rangers for the fourth and final time this year.  So far the road team has won every game in this series with the Rangers claiming a 4-3 win in the Phone Booth back in October.  The Caps however have taken the last two games including a 6-5 come from behind win in February at MSG for win #12 in the 14 game winning streak.  The Rangers are playing their third game after the Olympic Break as well and have split the two games winning on Tuesday night in Ottawa and losing in overtime on Thursday night 5-4 at home to the Penguin Scum.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)Post: maximum gains, riverboat

Neutral Views:

NHL.comAP Wire.

Open Source Intelligence:

Newsday (If you're willing to pay for it)New York Daily NewsNew York

What Do We Expect Tonight?:

Well folks, for one thing, bad, bad ice.  The weather today has highs in the low 50's and the Phone Booth has the Whats?  playing a game this afternoon.  The good news is that this is the third and final time this takes place this year and the even better news is that the Caps are 2-0 so far this season on the short arena changeover.  The Rangers are locked into a three way tie for the 8th and final Eastern Conference Playoff spot and are currently sitting just on the outside because of the tiebreakers.  So the Rangers know that they're going to need every single point that they can get in order to make it into the playoffs.  They're doing cartwheels because Marion Gaborik is back in the lineup tonight but it begs the question, how do they go about beating the Caps?  The Rangers were forced into a defensive shell against the Penguin Scum and still came away a 5-4 loser.  Do the Rangers trust Henrik Lundqvist enough to open things up and try to beat the Caps in a real shootout?  We're not sure that the ice conditions tonight will allow for a wide open game with pucks bouncing all over the place so both teams will be wise to keep things simple and try to grind things out.  The Caps have shown that they can win both ways recently and truth be told, while the Rangers have scored four goals in both games since the Olympics without Gaborik, they just don't have the offensive talent to hang with the Caps.  The Caps are going to have to work but this should be another win.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 6
Rangers 4
Winner by Backstrom
(34-30 on the season with one perfect game and darn near nailed another)



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