Thursday, April 9, 2009

Pre-Cap: Capitals vs. Bolts

SE Champs, Second Playoff Slot


Last in SE, lotteryville

At this point in the season, the only team preventing the Capitals from locking up the second seed in the playoffs is the Capitals.

One point earned by the Caps, or one point lost by the Devils secures the second seed. One point earned also ties the team record for most points in a season.

One point secures so much more than just home-field advantage in two rounds. Consider this: If Pittsburgh takes the sixth seed, as they are expected to, it means the only way the Capitals will meet their bitter playoff rival is in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Good deal, considering the Penguins play the Islanders tonight and after their 10-0 loss to the Canes, I'd bet the farm on the Pens. It's not that the Caps couldn't beat the Pens in the first round, but more or less that it's best to avoid trouble spots and let someone else do your dirty work.

I'm sure the Pens feel the same way about the Flyers and Bruins.

So focusing on tonight's game, what can you really say about this game other than that if the Capitals want to win, they just need to show up with a strong effort and focus on the task at hand?

Washington has blown numerous leads to the Bolts. The last time these two teams met, the Caps blew a 3-1 lead. Back on New Year's day, the Capitals had a three-goal lead on the Bolts, but ended up surrendering four goals in the end.

We're beginning to sound like a broken record but, once again, if the Capitals can just focus on the Bolts and not who they'll play next week then we should be celebrating a second seed by Friday morning.

Tampa doesnt' have much to play for tonight. They won't even have Vincent Lecavalier or Ryan Malone in the lineup. Those injuries just pour salt on the wound that is the 08-09 Tampa season. One more game and they're headed on vacations before hitting the ice again to train. You can bet they'll want to beat the Caps at least once, because nobody likes being swept.

And for those Ross Trophy watchers, Ovechkin has obliterated the Bolts this year (13 points in five games.) Malkin has also been a pest to the Islanders (nine points in five games). If Ovechkin wants a chance at stealing that trophy, tonight's the night to do it.


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