Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Closing The Gap

As of this morning, Boston retains a seven point lead over Washington in the Eastern Conference standings. The Bruins are at 88, the Caps at 81. Both teams are playing tonight against formidable foes. The Caps are hosting Philadelphia and the Bruins are hosting Florida. Both the Caps and the Bruins have hit the 60 game mark so that means there is just 22 games left on the schedule for both teams.

The Caps can catch the Bruins, but it may take winning stretches of 6 to 7 games at a time to match the earlier pace of Boston. There is some hope on the horizon, the Bruins have dropped their last two games versus opponents they should have no trouble with, like Florida and Tampa (although Florida has been on fire of late). Their last two losses came at the end of a five game road trip that did not go as smoothly as the Bruins may have wanted it to. In fact there are some signs of slowing in the Boston machine as they have only garnered 4 points in their last seven games. The Caps have 11 points in their last seven.

Boston and Washington will face off for the last time this season on the last day of February. It is a chance for the Caps to help their own cause, but they will have to do it on enemy ice. So far the Caps have the upper hand on the season series between the two 2 games to one and they were the only team to beat the Bruins in the month of December.

For the Capitals to win in Boston, they will need to bring a bit of emotion into the game. Their last foray into New England, the Caps were done in by a lucky bounce in overtime. The two teams played a systematic game that showed just how evenly matched both teams seemed to be. The hard working defensive Bruins against the extremely explosive offensive Capitals should be another intense, hard fought game.

Both teams are looking for a good month of March to keep their fortunes going. The road may be harder for the Caps as they will be on the road for seven of their 13 games in March due to the NCAA's Frozen Four hosted at the phone booth.

The Caps also have to mindful of their back end. The New Jersey Devils have been hot on the heels of the Caps and the Flyers will most likely make a run themselves at an Eastern Conference title.

NHL Notes
  • Welcome back Tortorella! Rangers didn't waste much time in dismissing Tom Renny and jumping on the John Tortorella bandwagon, just before trade deadline too. The Rangers at one time held a commanding lead in the Eastern Conference, but their scoring went on the fritz and now they are just fighting to regain a playoff spot. If Florida should beat Boston tonight, they could leap-frog the Rangers and Montreal and be sitting pretty in fifth.
  • While the Caps aren't making a big deal of it, the media is making quite the deal about some of the smack talk between Sid Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. Because the two are such polar opposites and both are marketable ambassadors to hockey, fans and media types alike are intrigued by the match up more so now than in previous years. Before, the two have always down played their rivalry. Now it's heating up and everyone seems to be interested by it. For as many times Crosby says "that's hockey" you think he would know by now that when he has the puck, guys are going to be physical with him. He'll learn, he'll learn.
  • Nothing new on the trade front for the Caps. Although, Japer's Rink has some good ideas on where to improve. Caps most likely to be traded, in my opinion, are Micheal Nylander, Shaone Morrisonn and Sami Lepisto.
That is all I got.

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