Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Looking Ahead to Game 9: Detroit Red Wings at Washington Capitals

Well Caps fans tonight at Verizon Center our Washington Capitals cross over  the 10% mark through the young 2014-2015 NHL Regular Season. 

The Caps and the Red Wings enter tonight's contest with identical 4-2-2 records (10 standings points).  Both teams are coming off road losses but should be rested and ready to play.  The Red Wings lost their last outing 4-2 to the Broad Street Bullies (aka Philadelphia Flyers) at Philadelphia's Wachovia Center on Saturday evening.  The Caps lost their last outing to the Canucks in Vancouver on Sunday 4-2.  Tonight's game should once again be a good measuring stick.  Will our Capitals play
the opposing team that's on the ice or will they play the reputation that Detroit has built over the past 25 seasons?  If the Caps play the opposing team on the ice, this should be a good, solid, hard fought game that they win.  If they decide to play the reputation of past seasons then the may as well not show up - #justsaying.  Both teams could really, really use an ROW - especially the Capitals who only have three to date. 

The keys to tonight's game is for the Caps are IMO:

  1. Return to form and play the system - limit the Red Wings to less than 30 SOG;
  2. Shot the puck more - especially our top two lines;
  3. Get in the Red Wings paint" and their goaltenders "grill" more than they have the past two games;
  4. A Save Percentage of 0.920+ for Holtby; and,
  5. Come out faster and harder on the puck in the first period than they have yet to do this game.

The keys to tonight's game for the Red Wings to get the Verizon Crowd behind them are:

  1. Play like gentlemen, realize the are the visiting team, lay down and politely give the Caps the two points we want and need.
  2. Look it's a long season, Babcock should save his stars for when he really needs them and give Datsyuk and Zetterberg a night off so they rest, after all neither is getting any younger.
  3. Be careful, very careful there is NO need for any Detroit skater to risk injury by getting into any Caps shooting lanes or blocking any shots, that "puck" thing is made of really, really hard rubber and it could hurt somebody.
  4. Remember the importance of helping our Swedes look really good.  Washington is a growing hockey market ad the Red Wing's Swedes should go out of their way to help Backstrom and Johansson look really good tonight.
  5. Prior to the game eat a really heavy, unhealthy meal, it's a long flight after the game and they'll all likely want to immediately catch some "Z'ssss" right after the game or on the flight, nothing helps you sleet better than a really heavy dinner.
Hope you weren't looking for anything too serious there - bottom line for the Red Wings is th old adage for road hockey - "play your game" - the basic keys for Detroit will be to try and dictate the pace and tenor of play.  It will be very important that the Caps don't let them especially during the first 40:00 of the game.

I'm not Peerless but my "prognostication" assuming the Caps execute on their keys 1-5 is: 

Capitals 3 - Red Wings 1


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