Friday, November 16, 2007

Two-for-One: Caps/Cats Recap and Caps/Bolts Preview

With their game against Florida last night the Capitals kicked off a period of ten games in sixteen days, eight of which are against division opponents. It goes without saying that the Capitals need to put up a decent number of points - 12 or more in my opinion - through these ten games to salvage their season. They'll have the chance to do so, playing Florida four (!) times and Tampa and Atlanta once each (other games are two with Carolina and one each with Philly and Buffalo).

It's been said many times already, and by many people, that the Capitals need to turn things around quickly to have any hope of making it to the playoffs; if the Capitals can't put up some points through these ten games we won't have to say that anymore because the season will be over and we'll all be praying (1) to win the draft lottery and (2) for John Tavares to enter the draft (note: #2 may be conditional on #1).

As for the actual games - I don't think there much I can add to the commentary from last night's loss to Florida beyond what is being said at Japers' Rink and 3 Grumpy Caps Fans. What I do want to note is this:

  • This loss comes in large part because two of the Capitals most important players, Tom Poti and Michael Nylander, had terrible games. Poti was the primary Cap to blame on both of Florida's goals. It was especially bad on the second one when he made a pass any hockey player past the age of seven ought to know not to attempt. Nylander had at least four very questionable (read: terrible) passes and by the end of the game I'd lost all faith the Capitals were going to do anything when he touched the puck.
  • It's absurd Chris Clark was called for a dive when he was knocked down in front of the net and the Panthers' player (don't recall who) did not receive a diving penalty on the play where Jeff Schultz was called for interference.
As for tonights game, mark me down as someone who expects a Caps win. Yes, the Capitals are struggling, yes they are playing in Tampa and yes Vincent Lecavalier has been the best player in the NHL over the last couple weeks.

But I still think Tampa Bay simply is not that good; I know Lecavalier is not this good and I don't think the Capitals are this bad. Simply put the Lightning (7-1-1) and Lecavalier are overachieving and the Capitals are underachieving and both should return to levels that reflect their overall talent pretty soon (I have more faith Tampa will start to stumble that I do that the Capitals will start a winning streak. But I digress).


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