Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Game #81 Preview: Florida Panthers at Washington Capitals

Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC

When:  April 6, 2011, 7:00 PM

Caps Record on this Date: 4-5-2-0
Caps Game 81 Record: 9-6-0-1
All-Time vs. FLA: 57-49-10-5
All-Time at home vs. FLA: 21-28-6-3
Last Season vs. FLA: 6-0-0
Last Meeting: 3/6/11, WAS 3 FLA 2
Season Series: 2-1-1

This Year:
WAS Record: 47-22-11
Standings Points: 105
Division Rank: 1st
Conference Rank: 1st
Last Game: 4/5/11, WAS 3 TOR 2 (OT-SO)
Streak: Win 3

FLA Record: 29-38-12
Standings Points: 70
Division Rank: 5th
Conference Rank: 15th    
Last Game: 4/2/11, FLA 2 PIT 4
Streak: Lost 8

Probable Line-Ups:     
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 22 KNUBLE
Forward Line 2: 18 STURM, 44 ARNOTT, 16 FEHR
Forward Line 3: 21 LAICH, 90 JOHANSSON, 25 CHIMERA
Forward Line 4: 26 HENDRICKS, 15 GORDON, 10 BRADLEY
Defense Pair 1: 55 SCHULTZ, 23 HANNAN
Defense Pair 2: 27 ALZNER, 74 CARLSON
Defense Pair 3: 4 ERSKINE, 62 SLOAN
Goalie: 30 NEUVIRTH
Back-up Goalie: 1 VARLAMOV

Forward Line 2: 10 BOOTH, 19 REASONER, 15 SKILLE
Forward Line 3: 63 DADONOV, 20 CARTER, 32 REPIK
Forward Line 4: 16 HORDICHUK, 18 MATTHIAS, 26 BERNIER
Defense Pair 1: 52 GARRISON, 43 WEAVER
Defense Pair 2: 4 ELLERBY, 7 KULIKOV
Defense Pair 3: 3 WILSON, 48 CALLAHAN
Back-up Goalie: 35 PLANTE

Washington – 3 POTI (upper body) IR, (upper body) IR, 52 GREEN (head) IR, 6 WIDEMAN (lower body) DTD, 89 SLOAN (jaw) DTD, 28 SEMIN (wrist) DTD

FLA – WEISS (groin) DTD, SULZER (groin) IR, VOKOUN (back) DTD, TIMMINS (concussion) IR, OLESZ (knee) IR, BITZ (sports hernia) IR, MATTHIAS (ankle) DTD

Caps Milestones:
Jason Chimera needs 3 goals to reach 100 in his career.


After facing 5 straight teams that are in the playoffs or were fighting to stay in the hunt the Capitals take on the Eastern Conference’s last place team in a home-and-home series to close out the regular season. By way of their shootout victory last night in Toronto and a Philly loss the Capitals have taken the lead in the East and have a shot at a second consecutive Eastern Conference Title. The Panthers on the other hand are trying finish out the season with their pride intact. Florida has been struggling to score goals which play right into the hands of the Washington defense. The Caps have only allowed 35 goals in their last 18 games and have been getting progressively better on that side of the puck. The Caps are starting to get some its defense back as John Erskine returned to the lineup last night and GM George McPhee has said that Mike Green may return for one of the Florida games so that is welcome news to the team who will need an experienced puck moving defenseman come playoff time. I expect this game to start fast and if the Caps score first they will win going away if not it will be close but I think the Caps will be fired up for their final home game.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 4 FLA 1

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