Saturday, April 16, 2011

Playoff Round 1 Game #3 Preview: Washington Capitals at New York Rangers



Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC

When:  April 17, 2011, 3:00 PM

History:           
All-Time Playoff Series Record vs. NYR: 3-2
All-Time Playoff Game Record vs. NYR: 17-14
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 WAS 2 NYR 1 (OT)
Apr. 15, 2011 WAS 2 NYR 0
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: 16 AVERY, 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:

With a 2-0 lead in the series the Capitals have an opportunity to put a death grip on the Rangers chances. To do it, Washington will have to win Game #3 in New York. The Caps were very good on the road this year but this will be the first chance to show that they have that killer instinct that all great teams have. Expect New York to come out flying with great desperation. They gave the Capitals a big dose of it in the first period of Game #2 but Capitals rookie goaltender Michal Neuvirth held them in check. The Capitals need to start in the way they started the second period of Game #2. Using their strong forecheck and speed they will need to turn the play against the aggression of the Rangers. The Caps have been very adept at winning the board battles so far so watch for the Capitals sense of urgency in Game #3. This should be an even more physical game than the previous two. Washington has bent but not broken on defense and allowed only 1 goal against in almost 7 periods of play. Look for another Washington shot blocking exposition in Game #3 and I expect Capitals to keep the pressure on and take this one with a strong, convincing effort.  

Joe’s prediction: Caps 4 NYR 1



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