Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Playoff Round 1 Game #1: New York Rangers at Washington Capitals



Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC

When:  April 13, 2011, 7:30 PM

History:           
All-Time Playoff Series Record vs. NYR: 3-2
All-Time Playoff Game Record vs. NYR: 15-14
Last Meeting: 2009, WAS 4 NYR 3

This Year:
WAS Record: 48-22-11
Standings Points: 107
Division Rank: 1st
Conference Rank: 1st

NYR Record: 44-33-5
Standings Points: 93
Division Rank: 3rd
Conference Rank: 8th    

2010-2011 Regular Season Series: 1-2-1
Nov. 9, 2010 WAS 5 NYR 3
Dec. 12, 2010 WAS 0 NYR 7
Jan. 24, 2011 WAS 1 NYR 2 (OT-SO)
Feb. 25, 2011 WAS 0 NYR 6

Playoff Series Schedule and Results:
Apr. 13, 2011 at Washington
Apr. 15, 2011 at Washington
Apr. 17, 2011 at New York
Apr. 20, 2011 at New York
Apr. 23, 2011 at Washington*
Apr. 25, 2011 at New York*
Apr. 27, 2011 at Washington*
*If required

Probable Line-Ups:     
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 22 KNUBLE
Forward Line 2: 18 STURM, 44 ARNOTT, 28 SEMIN
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, 52 GREEN
Goalie: 30 NEUVIRTH
Back-up Goalie: 1 VARLAMOV

New York
Forward Line 1: 20 PROSPAL, 42 ANISIMOV, 10 GABORIK
Forward Line 2: 17 DUBINSKY, 21 STEPAN, 19 FEDOTENKO
Forward Line 3: 86 WOLKSKI, 22 BOYLE, 8 PRUST
Forward Line 4: 36 ZUCCARELLO, 26 CHRISTENSEN, 23 DRURY
Defense Pair 1: 18 STAAL, 5 GIRARDI
Defense Pair 2: 27 MCDONAGH, 38 SAUER
Defense Pair 3: 28 MCCABE, 97 GILROY
Goalie: 30 LUNDQVIST
Back-up Goalie: 29 JOHNSON

Injuries:
Washington – 3 POTI (upper body) IR, (upper body) IR, 6 WIDEMAN (lower body) DTD

NYR – BIRON (broken collarbone) IR, BOOGAARD (concussion) IR, FROLOV (knee) IR, CALLAHAN (ankle) IR

Preview:

Game #1 is always an amazing sight and this year will be no exception. This year’s Capitals team starts their journey to the Stanley Cup against the team who pasted them twice this season. Once during the long 8-game losing streak in December that saw Captain Alex Ovechkin drop the gloves in an attempt to fire up his mates, and once in February that saw Mike Green get knocked out of the lineup for the rest of the regular season from an elbow to the head. Since that game, Washington put up a 16-3-1 record and allowed only 37 goals in those 20 games. This new defensive front was put into place following the first big loss to the Rangers and the players have bought in and finished the year with the 4th best goals against mark in the NHL regular season. Look for Game 1 to be a very physical affair with both teams trying to set the tone early. Alex Ovechkin’s line will draw the Rangers top defensive pair so watch for Alexander Semin to step up. Semin scored 5 goals in the series against New York back in 2009. The main key for the Capitals is the special teams. The Caps had the NHL’s 2 ranked penalty kill unit this season but the power play was only ranked #16. However, Washington scored 5 extra-man goals in their final 4 games. I think this will be a tight game with the Capitals pulling out a late score in a one-goal game

Joe’s prediction: Caps 3 NYR 2

















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