Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tonight - Caps at Boston, Going for #11...

Tonight when the Caps face off at TD Garden against the Boston Bruins they will be going for their 11th win in a row. The number one key to achieving a victory tonight is for the Caps to approach it with the same business like manner they've approached the prior 55 games they've played this regular season. For the Bruins the key will be to forget about pretty much every game they played so far since New Years.

The Bruins went 3-9-2 during the month of January and they haven't won a game since they beat San Jose on January 14th in San Jose. During January Boston bested: Philadelphia on New Years Day in "The Winter Classic", the Senators in Ottawa on January 5th and the Sharks in San Jose on the 14th. They also took the Kings to a shootout in LA on the 16th and again in Boston during their last game on Saturday, January 30th. What's all that say? To me it says when they play their game well the Bruins can skate with and beat anybody in the league. In other words if they forget about their recent 7 game loosing streak, this team, even post-Phil Kessel, all thoughts to the contrary aside, is capable of being just as tough to beat and good as the team that amassed 116 points and won the Eastern Conference last season. I'd do a "by the numbers comparison" but it would look like you'd expect comparing a team with a record of 37-12-6 with 214 GF and 149 GA (+65) to a team with a record of 23-21-9 with 130 GF and 136 GA (-6). I also don't think because of what I explained above why such a comparison is all that relevant. Right now Boston needs the points very much as they are in 11th place in the Conference but just two points out of 7th place and a playoff spot. They are motivated to prove they are still a force in the East and how better to do that then ending the Capitals current winning streak on home ice?

The last time the two teams met was the season opener for both at TD Garden on Thursday, October 1st, a game the Capitals won by a score of 4-1, with both Brooks Laich and Alexander Ovechkin notching tow goals. The Bruins could even the series 1-1, end the Caps win streak, and start a badly needed winning streak of their own all with one major effort. The Caps on the other hand with a solid, keep their eye on the game at hand effort, could continue their winning ways. Per Tarik El-Bashir, there don't appear to be any surprises to the Caps line-up tonight and Jose Theodore will get the start in net. Though it's not clear indications from earlier today are the two healthy scratches for the Caps will be Karl Alzner and Quintin Laing. Mike Green will also be out of the line-up serving the second game of his three game suspension.

It is believed Tim Thomas will be in the net for the Boston tonight. Thomas, the 2008 -2009 Vezina winner, is no stranger to the Capitals and vice versa, he also has the ability to single handedly win games, and though his W/L record is only 13-14-7 this season his GAA and Save % remain 2.50 and 0.916 - both very respectable numbers. The likely good news for the Caps is that with this being going for 11 wins in a row, and Boston being a traditionally tough game for the Capitals, they aren't likely "looking past this one."

Prediction: Caps 4 - Bruins 3 in regulation, GWG: Alexander Semin. Other prediction is we ALL get tired of hearing about a "history making event/night" from Joe B. and Al Koken.


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