Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rainy day, yes... Lightning? Not so much.

It's a gloomy time in Capsland right now, both figuratively and literally. And what better team to come to town in the middle of a downpour than the Lightning (Bugs)?

At first glance, this looks to be a very difficult game for the Caps. They have always had trouble with Vinnie Lecavalier on home ice (10g, 8A in 22 games), they have no power play to speak of, and Olie Kolzig was shredded by Tampa to the tune of an .887 save percentage against the Bugs last season. All signs seem to point towards the highly potent Tampa offense dismantling the Caps.

Here's why it won't happen:

Olie Kolzig will be primed for tonight, having had a terrible outing his last start against the Islanders. Olie almost never plays back to back stinkers. Additionally, he's playing on almost a full week of rest, which should be extremely helpful to a guy who's a lot closer to 40 than 30. I expect a dominant performance from Kolzig tonight.

Alexander Semin returns to the lineup. While he may not play a ton of minutes, his presence immediately infuses much needed scoring into the Caps lineup. Expect Semin to take a little less than half his even strength shifts, with Flash taking the rest on the second line. Semin's presence should also bolster what has been an absolutely pathetic power play.

Mike Green starts on the first PP unit. This should have happened at the start of the season. Green may well be the third most talented scorer on the team right now behind Ovechkin and Semin. It's about time he gets a chance to prove it with the man advantage.

Tampa is prime for a letdown after their domination of the Thrashers. They're not as good as they looked in last game against the Thrashers (though Atlanta appears to be as bad as they looked). This looks like a classic letdown game for the Lightning Bugs.

Finally, the Caps seem to recognize that they need to start racking up points RIGHT NOW if they want to compete in a playoff race in the months down the line. In-division games are vital, and the team finally seems to understand that (although we won't know for sure until we see them not lay a stink bomb against that other team from Florida).

I see the Caps pulling this game out 4-3, with Kolzig being peppered for around 40 shots and being named the game's first star.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Damn good prediction on the score. Save an EN goal, you were right on..