Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Playoff Round 1 Game #4 Preview: Washington Capitals at New York Rangers



Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

When:  April 20, 2011, 7:00 PM

History:           
All-Time Playoff Series Record vs. NYR: 3-2
All-Time Playoff Game Record vs. NYR: 17-15
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 WAS 2 NYR 3
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:

Washington will try and regain the momentum after a late goal against allowed the Ranger claim a win in Game #3. The Capitals have been playing solid defense but the offense has been a bit sporadic. The top two lines have been getting it done with Alex Ovechkin and Jason Arnott who have amassed 4 and 3 points respectively. The Capitals will need to get some offense from the third and fourth lines. Hello Matt Bradley and Matt Hendricks. In addition to the toughness these guys bring to the lineup, combined 10 hits in 3 games, they need to disrupt Henrik Lundqvist in the crease. So far he has pretty much had a free pass this series and a little heat on him could be a big boost for Washington. Expect another bruising game with lots of hitting and clogged neutral zone. Look for the Capitals to crash the net more in this game and try to take control early. Michal Neuvirth has been stellar in the series through three games. He has stopped 78 of the 82 shots he’s faced and been unflappable under pressure. Watch for the Caps to be more aggressive in the offensive zone and force the Rangers to react. The Capitals will need to do this if they want any time on the power play. Last game the Caps allowed the Rangers to dictate play and ended up defending 7 power plays against including two 5-on-3 chances. I think the Capitals will pressure the Rangers early and get the first goal but it will be another tight game with the winner in doubt until the third period. With a strong forecheck and more offensive presents the Caps can wear down the New York defense and come out on top.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 2 NYR 1


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