Thursday, March 31, 2011

Game #78 Preview: Columbus Blue Jackets at Washington Capitals

Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC

When:  March 31, 2011, 7:00 PM

Caps Record on this Date: 5-5-2-0
Caps Game 78 Record: 15-13-3-3
All-Time vs. CLB: 7-3-1-1
All-Time at home vs. CLB: 2-1-1-1
Last Season vs. CLB: 1-0-1
Last Meeting: 4/3/10, WAS 3 CLB 2
Season Series: 0-0-0

This Year:
WAS Record: 44-22-11
Standings Points: 99
Division Rank: 1st
Conference Rank: 2nd
Last Game: 3/29/11, WAS 2 CAR 3 (OT-SO)
Streak: Loss 1

CLB Record: 34-31-11
Standings Points: 79
Division Rank: 4th
Conference Rank: 12th    
Last Game: 3/29/11, CLB 3 FLA 2 (OT-SO)
Streak: Win 1

Probable Line-Ups:     
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM,
Forward Line 2: 21 LAICH, 44 ARNOTT, 22 KNUBLE
Forward Line 3: 18 STURM, 90 JOHANSSON, 16 FEHR
Forward Line 4: 26 HENDRICKS, 15 GORDON, 10 BRADLEY
Defense Pair 1: 55 SCHULTZ, 6 WIDEMAN
Defense Pair 2: 27 ALZNER, 74 CARLSON
Defense Pair 3: 23 HANNAN, 4 ERSKINE
Goalie: 30 NEUVIRTH
Back-up Goalie: 1 VARLAMOV

Forward Line 1: 61 NASH, 16 BRASSARD, 11 CALVERT
Forward Line 2: 18 UMBERGER, 50 VERMETTE, 93 VORACEK
Forward Line 3: UP9 SHALL, 26 PAHLSSON, 15 DORSETT
Forward Line 4: 43 MAYOROV, 24 MACKENZIE, 40 BOLL
Defense Pair 1: 35 HEJDA, 4 LEPISTO
Defense Pair 2: 51 TYUTIN, 3 METHOT
Defense Pair 3: 52 RIVET, 10 RUSSELL
Goalie: 1 MASON
Back-up Goalie: 32 GARON

Washington – 3 POTI (upper body) IR, (upper body) IR, 52 GREEN (head) IR

CLB – CLARK (lower body) DTD, HUSELIUS (ankle) DTD, STRALMAN (knee) IR, MURRAY (lower body) DTD

Caps Milestones:
Jason Arnott needs 2 goals to reach 400 in his career.
Jason Chimera needs 4 goals to reach 100 in his career.
Alex Ovechkin needs 2 goals to reach 300 in his career.


The Capitals face the Blue Jackets for first time in almost a year as they are the last Western Conference team the Caps will face this regular season. Overall Washington is 7-9-1 in 17 games against the West. Columbus is out of the playoff hunt but would love to knock off the Caps and give the team a late season boost. The Capitals look a little complacent against Carolina on Monday and needs to get back to playing tough hardnosed hockey. I don’t know if it was the first game after a road trip let down or the team getting Alex Ovechkin back and thinking he would carry the play but it’s time to start preparing for the next season. I expect a much more focused Washington team to show up and take this game from the start. Look for a big game from the big name players and I am thinking that the Caps will win by a comfortable margin.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 4 CLB 1

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