First things first, Caps Fans like me will be watching, or better yet, at tonight's game at Verizon Center where the Eastern Conference 2nd place Capitals take on the 15th (last) place NY Islanders. There's some good pre-game analysis and prognostication already available online thanks to The Peerless and a nice summary by Reed-CK of Capitals Kremlin. Reed's sentiment's: "The key to tonight's game will be focus, not just because the Capitals should easily walk over this Islanders club, but because a momentarily lapse of focus could turn an easy win into a disappointing loss" capture mine very well too. For some reason the Caps haven't had the easiest of times in their recent games against the Islanders, despite holding a 3-0-0 lead in the season series this year. The Islanders have managed to take the Caps to overtime in each of the last two meetings and will be looking to not be swept tonight. Both statistically and because of injuries and trade deadline moves, the Capitals are stronger in every category than the Islanders team they will face tonight. The Islanders are no higher than 12th in the league in any major statistical category and in most categories are in the bottom third in the league. However as their last two meetings against the Capitals show, that's why they play the games on the ice. The Capitals are coming off of four days rest and hopefully the Capitals "Flu Epidemic has run it's course. According to Tarik over at his WaPo Capitals Insider Blog, Mike Green is set to play after battling it, and Kieth Aucoin and Simeon Varlamov have been recalled from the Hershey Bears for tonight's match up. Aucoin will be in for an injured Donald Brashear who is still recovering from a sprained knee. No word on the started in goal but after four days rest you have to believe it will be Jose Theodore in net for the Caps and Varly backing him up as Brent Johnson is still on IR from his hip surgery. The Capitals "Magic Number" to lock up the Southeastern Division is 3, a win tonight gets them 1/3rd there. See you at Verizon tonight when it's time to Rock the Red.... just keep thinking
LETS GO CAPS!!!!!
Elsewhere around the league there are five other games to be thinking about as the drive for the playoffs continue and just 5 points separate 4th place from 9th place in the Eastern Conference, and 6th place from 9th place in the Western Conference. For the Capitals and we Caps fans, who now sit just one point in front of the New Jersey Devils in the standings, thanks to the continuation of their recent loosing streak at the hands of the Rangers on Monday night, in addition to urging the Caps to victory against the Islanders, we'll be watching Devils at the Penguins. as the Devils try and halt their loosing streak at five against a hot Penguins team who now seem focused on making another run deep into the playoffs. In other Eastern Conference action 10th place Buffalo, who hasn't given up hope of the playoffs yet, basically have a must win game against a resurgent 13th place Atlanta team; and 4th place Philadelphia hope to keep the heat on the Devils for the Atlantic Division crown by beating the 12th place Maple Leafs in Toronto tonight. In Western Conference action the the red hot Saint Louis Blues who have won five in a row travel to Chicago to take on the 5th place Blackhawks who have lost their last two; and in a battle for pride the 14th place Phoenix Coyotes visit the 15th place Colorado Avalanche. A win in Chicago would vault the Blues into 7th place, 1 point ahead of both Anaheim and Nashville in a 3 way dogfight for the last two playoff spots in the West.
Wow....when was the last time as a Caps fan you ever saw yourself rooting for the Rangers and the Penguins to win in a span of less than a week?
I just wish I didn't have so much going on at work right now so I could think about this some more but it's time to get to work now... And just because I never seem to tire of sayin it...
LETS GO CAPS!!!!