Thursday, February 3, 2011

Game #53 Preview: Washington Capitals at Tampa Bay Lightning

Where: St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, FL

When:  February 4, 2011, 7:30 PM

Caps Record on this Date: 4-9-2-0
Caps Game 53 Record: 12-17-5-0
All-Time vs. TAM: 54-67-17-2
All-Time at TAM: 33-28-9-0
Last Season vs. TAM: 4-2-0
Last Meeting: 1/12/11, WAS 0 TAM 3
Season Series: 2-1-1

This Year:
WAS Record: 27-15-10
Standings Points: 64
Division Rank: 2nd
Conference Rank: 5th
Last Game: 2/1/11, WAS 2 MON 3 (OT-SO)
Streak: Loss 3

TAM Record: 32-15-5
Standings Points: 69
Division Rank: 1st
Conference Rank: 2nd    
Last Game: 2/1/11, TAM 4 PHI 0
Streak: Won 6

Probable Line-Ups:     
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 22 KNUBLE
Forward Line 2: 21 LAICH, 85 PERRAULT, 25 CHIMERA
Forward Line 3: 26 HENDRICKS, 90 JOHANSSON, 83 BEAGLE
Forward Line 4: 39 STECKEL, 15 GORDON, 10 BRADLEY
Defense Pair 1: 52 GREEN, 55 SCHULTZ
Defense Pair 2: 27 ALZNER, 74 CARLSON
Defense Pair 3: 23 HANNAN, 4 ERSKINE
Goalie: 1 VARLAMOV
Back-up Goalie: 30 NEUVIRTH

Tampa Bay
Forward Line 1: 26 ST. LOUIS, 91 STAMKOS, 9 DOWNIE
Forward Line 2: 12 GAGNE, 4 LECAVALIER, 16 PURCELL
Forward Line 3: 10 BERGENHEIM, 19 MOORE, 21 RITOLA
Forward Line 4: 18 HALL, 44 THOMPSON, 42 TYRELL
Defense Pair 1: 39 LUNDIN, 5 OHLUND
Defense Pair 2: 7 CLARK, 77 HEDMAN
Defense Pair 3: 8 JONES, 13 KUBINA
Goalie: 35 ROLOSON
Back-up Goalie: 33 ELLIS

Washington – 3 POTI (upper body) IR, 28 SEMIN (hip) DTD, 16 FEHR (upper body) DTD, 30 NEUVIRTH (lower body) DTD

TAM – 6 MALONE (body) DTD

Caps Milestones:
Jason Chimera needs 5 goals to reach 100 in his career.
Brooks Laich needs 7 goals to reach 100 in his career.
Alex Ovechkin needs 8 assists to reach 300 in his career.


The Capitals are heading into must win territory. With 30 games left on the schedule the Caps are 5 points back of their opponents in tonight’s matchup. If they want to contend for the SE Division title they need to start closing that gap. Unfortunately, the team has been consistently inconsistent with another overtime, shootout loss on Tuesday. Washington gave up a two goal lead and will need a better effort to be in the game against the Lightning. Tampa put a 4-0 beating on the Eastern Conference leading Philadelphia Flyers. For the Capitals to win they will need a focused 60-minute effort. Expect this game to be another high paced game with lots of physical play but very conservative to start. The Capitals scored on the power play last game and this will be the key for the rest of the season. If they can start scoring on the power play regularly they will be much more dangerous. The Lightning have shutout the Capitals in there last two meetings so look for the Caps to really crash the crease to get a goal. I think Washington comes out on top in this one with a strike on the power play but it should be close.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 3 TAM 1

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