Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pre-Cap: Capitals vs. Hurricanes

Washington Capitals (42-21-6, first in SE, third in EC)
Carolina Hurricanes (36-28-6, third in SE, eighth in EC)

Hey, how 'bout that NASCAR division? You know, the one Caps fans were clamoring to get out of, seeking to return to their old Atlantic Division roots? Well, it just so happens to be one of the most interesting postseason conflict zones.

Tonight's game against the Hurricanes starts what we at CK are calling...

The Capitals Magical Southeast Division Tour
3/14 vs. Carolina
3/16 @ Atlanta
3/17 @ Florida
3/19 @ Tampa Bay
3/21 @ Carolina

That's right, folks. The Capitals could seemingly wrap up the Southeast Division title in one week if they win out these five games. Along with wrapping up the division, a long win streak would likely help the Caps pass the Devils in the standings and put them just a few points behind the Bruins, granted those two teams hiccup along the way.

So now you have the motivation for the Caps to win, but what about the teams in their way?

Well, Carolina is no slouch of an opponent, and the Caps have lost the last two meetings between the two clubs. Carolina has been hot since the start of March, going 4-1-1 and recording a power play goal in each game this month.

Much of the Canes' success has come thanks to the play of goalie Cam Ward, who has been the backbone of the team. So far this season, he has a 2.50 GAA and a .913 save percentage. Ward isn't the only one the Canes can rely on: Carolina also has a potent offense with four 40-point scorers this year. The names should sound familiar to Caps fans: Staal, Whitney, Ruutu and Samsonov. Keep this in mind, too: Matt Cullen has 39 points on the season, and Rod Brindamour has 38 points...make that six 40-point scorers by the end of next week.

To give you some perspective, the Capitals have four 40-point scorers on the season, and Pittsburgh has only two, Malkin and Crosby. For the Caps; Backstrom, Green, Ovechkin and Semin all have 40 points or more, with Laich sitting at 39.

The Caps haven't had their best games at home recently, buta two-game road trip has seemingly refocused the Caps. With one game before a long division road trip, the Caps need to get started with a big win against the Canes to let the rest of the division know a storm is coming, and it's not a hurricane.



  1. That graphic is gold, pure gold!

  2. I actually think of Carolina as one of the Caps' closest geographical rivals (outside of Philadelphia). They're only about 4 1/2 hours away from Wash. It seems that NC is one of the favorite places for Northern Virginians to relocate.

    That being said, the other closest geographical rivals are, of course, Pittsburgh, NJ, and the New York teams.

    I generally get more psyched for Carolina and the Atlantic Division crowd than any other team the Caps play, besides other Eastern Conference contenders.

  3. I've always enjoyed Caps and Canes games. Wouldn't mind seeing them in the first round.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Technorati Profile