Saturday, April 03, 2010

Caps @ Blue Jackets 4-3-2010 Preview

Washington Capitals (50-27; 112 points; 1st Southeast Division, 1st Eastern Conference, 1st Overall) @ Columbus Blue Jackets (32-46; 77 points; 4th Central Division, 14th Western Conference, 24th Overall):
Caps Game #78, Road Game #40, NHL Game #1,171

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: Clinched 3/28
President's Trophy: 3 San Jose (27 of 29 eliminated)

Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH. 7:07 pm. Washington TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WFED 1500-AM. Columbus TV: Fox Sportsnet Ohio. Radio: WBNS 1460-AM, WWCD 101.1-FM.  NHL Center Ice: Fox Sportsnet Ohio and Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic Feeds.

Tonight the Caps hit the road for the second to last time this season starting a three games in four nights in three different cities when they travel out West to Ohio to face the Columbus Blue Jackets. This is the second meeting between the teams this season and the Caps might have a little revenge on their minds as the Blue Jackets dealt the Caps a 5-4 defeat in overtime at the Phone Booth back on All Saint's Day.  In addition to the defeat, the Blue Jackets targeted Captain A.O., injuring him during the game and causing him to miss the next three contests.  The Blue Jackets however have since fired their head coach, traded off a number of players, including Jason Chimera who was dealt to the Caps along with Milan Juricina whom the Caps sent to Columbus and then Columbus returned, and are now officially eliminated from all Post-Season considerations.  The Blue Jackets however have figured some things out since the deadline and are playing better hockey, relishing their roles as spoilers.  Columbus has won five of their last ten games including 2 of their last three.  In their last outing however they lost in Detroit 3-2 to the Red Wings.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)Post: homecoming, trying to start a goaltender controversy.

Neutral Views:

NHL.comAP Wire.

Open Source Intelligence:

Columbus Dispatch: unhappy homecoming, more injuries, Game Preview, Southeast Beast.

What Do We Expect Tonight?:

Well folks, if you're expecting some kind of bloodshed because of the incident back in November, Jared Boll of the Blue Jackets is among the six players they have out for the rest of the season.  This also includes former Caps Captain Chris Clark.  Furthermore, goaltender Steve Mason, who has already driven the Caps nuts, could miss tonight's game with an injury he suffered in the Blue Jackets last game.  But there's no point in going into these details.  Yes the Caps can put themselves onto the brink of winning the President's Trophy and setting up a situation where they can win on Monday night at home against the Bruins, but today is Holy Saturday which means tomorrow is Easter.  Us long time Caps fans know that Easter weekend is anything but kind to the Caps.  From that last link we learned that Columbus is a combined 14-3 against the Southeast Division over the past three seasons, including and 3-1 mark against the Caps.  Add in Easter weekend and all the questions about focus and play heading into the playoffs will start flooding back.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 1
Blue Jackets 3
Winner by Nash
(42-35 on the season with one perfect game)

Editorial Note For The Dozens of Readers of This Blog:

As mentioned plenty of times above, today is Holy Saturday, and while it may seem like we've given up all hope already, we would still watch tonight's game if we we're attending the Easter Vigil Mass tonight.  Therefore, there will be no Post-Mortem after tonight's game.



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