Yesterday in Sunrise Florida it was a No Point day for the Capitals as the 2008-2009 Washington Capitals tried to capture a team record 109th and 110th point. In the end it was loose defensive play that did the Caps in. Now it's on to the playoffs for the Capitals who finished the regular season in second place in the NHL's Eastern Conference. Since Montreal lost yesterday we now know the Caps first round opponent will be the NY Rangers, who have been playing pretty well and who finish their season this evening in Philadelphia. Sadly, despite a solid effort and a 93 point season the Florida Panthers finish the season in 9th place behind the Canadiens who also have 93 points by virtue of the tie breaker rules. All said, it's very possible, the so called "weakest division" in hockey may well not be the Southeast Division next season. Now Florida fans need to see how they will fare in the "Unrestricted Free Agent Wars" of this off season. The Panthers clearly took advantage of what became a game of pond hockey and had the Capitals end the season the way the started it - giving up 7 goals to a Southeast Division rival. Clearly the top three teams in the SE finished the season playing solidly; in their last 10 games Washington is 6-2-2; 2nd place Carolina (6th in the Conference) is 8-2-0, though they have dropped their last two; and Florida finished the season 6-3-1 in their last 10 games.
The first round series of the 2009 playoffs are all settled now. In the Eastern Conference the match-ups are:
1) Boston (114) VS. 8) Montreal (93)
2) Washington (108) VS. 7) NY Rangers (93/95)
3) New Jersey (106) VS. 6) Carolina (97)
4/5) Philadelphia (99 or 101) VS. 5/4) Pittsburgh (99).
In the Western Conference the match-ups are shaping ups as follows:
1) San Jose (117) VS: 8) Saint Louis (90/92) or Anaheim (91)
2) Detroit (112/114) VS. 7) Anaheim (91) or Saint Louis (90/92)
3) Vancouver (100) VS. 6) Columbus (92)
4) Chicago (102/104) VS. 5) Calgary (98).
The Caps playoff series versus the Rangers opens at Verizon Center, it looks to me like that will be on Wednesday evening though I haven't been able to officially confirm that... (I do know the first round will start on Wednesday but I'm not positive the Caps will play if anyone has a reputable source/link, please post it in the comments.)
Next up the NY Rangers - Playoffs Baby!
LETS GO CAPS!!!!
I also know that my wingman and I had a much better time watching the NCAA finals live at Verizon Center than I would have had staying home and watching the Capitals game on Comcast. We once again sat in section 118 amongst a large group of Minnesotans who came to see, cheer and root for Bemidji State. Last night they were rooting for the Miami of Ohio RedHawks, using the logic - "A Miami win makes our team look better." Pretty reasonable logic I guess and until the last three minutes of the third period it looked like they would leave the area happy. However, the BU Terriers put on a surge that reversed, what had been a period where Miami had clearly outplayed them netting two goals in under three minutes to tie the contest at 3-3 and send it into overtime. All evening long it was championship NCAA Division I sports at it's best once again. I think the pictures pretty much speak for themselves but I am providing some captions.
The National Anthem sung by the Naval Academy Quartet and the Announcement of the Starting Lineups Kick Off the Evening's Contest.
Alonge with the Contest on the Ice, We Were Treated To the "Bttle of the Bands" as Well - College Sports at Their Best!
I'm pretty sure the Miami of Ohio RedHawk Fans in Section 103 Yesterday Knew How To "Rock the Red" - Next Week We Regulars In the Section Will Be Hard=Pressed to Outdo Them But We'll Sure Try, Eh?
These two shots of the scoreboard in the final two minutes of the third period tell the story
Boston University 2009 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Champions