Saturday, October 16, 2010

Game #5 Preview: Washington Capitals at Nashville Predators

Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN

When:  October 16, 2010 8:00 PM

Caps Record on this Date: 10-5-1-0
Caps Game 5 Record: 7-26-1-1
All-Time vs. NAS: 8-5-1-0
All-Time at NAS: 3-3-1-0
Last Season vs. NAS: 1-0-0
Last Meeting: 10/17/09, WAS 3 NAS 2 (OT-SO)

This Year:
WAS Record: 3-1-0
Standings Points: 6
Division Rank: 2nd
Conference Rank: 4th      
Last Game: 10/13/10, WAS 2 NYI 1
Streak: Win 3

NAS Record: 3-0-0
Standings Points: 6
Division Rank: 1st
Conference Rank: 1st    
Last Game: 10/14/10, NAS 4 STL 3
Streak: Win 3

Probable Line-Ups:     
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 22 KNUBLE
Forward Line 2: 21 LAICH, 14 FLEISCHMANN, 28 SEMIN
Forward Line 3: 25 CHIMERA, 26 HENDRICKS, 16 FEHR
Forward Line 4:17 KING, 15 GORDON, 39 STECKEL
Defense Pair 1: 55 SCHULTZ, 74 CARLSON
Defense Pair 2: 89 SLOAN, 4 ERSKINE
Defense Pair 3: 27 ALZNER, ??
Goalie: 30 NEUVIRTH
Back-up Goalie: 1 VARLAMOV

Forward Line 1: 26 SULLIVAN, 11 LEGWAND, 29 WARD
Forward Line 2: 74 KOSTITSYN, 16 O’REILLY, 27 HORNQVIST
Forward Line 3: 15 LOMBARDI, 9 GOC, 71 DUMONT
Forward Line 4: 22 TOOTOO, 33 WILSON, 10 ERAT
Defense Pair 1: 20 SUTER, 6 WEBER
Defense Pair 2: 51 BOUILLON, 8 KLEIN
Defense Pair 3: 55 O’BRIEN, 4 FRANSON
Goalie: 35 RINNE
Back-up Goalie: 39 LINDBACK

Washington – 3 POTI (lower body) DTD, 10 BRADLEY (lower body) DTD, 90 JOHANSSON (foot) DTD, 52 GREEN (upper body) DTD

NAS – 21 LUNDMARK (groin) IR

Caps Milestones:
Nicklas Backstrom needs 10 assists to reach 200 in his career.
Brooks Laich needs 8 points to reach 200 in his career.

The Capitals have not fared well in Game 5 throughout their history. They have won only 7 of the 35 games played, including one win since 1995. While this may not impact tonight’s game in Nashville it is oddly interesting. Breaking this trend will not be an easy task. The predators are 3-0-0 and are in first place in the Western Conference. The Caps will be without the services of defensemen Mike Green who left Wednesday’s game late in the third with an upper body injury. Tom Poti sat out the last two games with an injury and if he cannot go, the Caps will have to recall a player form Hershey. Look for the Capitals to play a simplified game with the depleted defense corps. The Predators are tearing it up on the power play so this will be a good test for the Caps penalty kill that have killed off 15 of 15 chances this season. I think this will be a hardworking game with a lot of back and forth play. The two teams played twice in the preseason so watch for a bit of chippiness. In the end the Caps should find a way to win this one but it will be close.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 3 NAS 2

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