The Peerless Prognosticator is ON THE AIR!!!
Let me just start out by saying, this overtime thing is getting old. Three times in six games . . . and no wins. The Peerless, for the record, despises overtime and shootouts more than he does those pictures of cute little kittens with great big soulful eyes (you know, the ones that look like pictures of Sidney Crosby whining to a referee). So, three of them in six games have this prognosticator in a foul sort of mood. But this is a new day and a new opportunity for a nice, clean win – tonight, the Tampa Bay Lighting visit VerMCIzon Center in the third, and last, consecutive division game in this . . . STATEMENT WEEK!
It promises to be a tightly contested affair and the . . . whoa, what have we? . . . It’s The Coach! Coach, how the hell are ya?
“I’m doing fine, Peerless . . . I needed a hockey fix, and The Coachmobile just brought me here.”
Well, we’re honored . . . how do you see things shaking out tonight?
“Well, ya see…what you have here are two teams…two hockey teams…both needing a win. But both teams can’t win, of course – huhhuh – so one of them is going to be disappointed. OK…so, I think the key to the game is that whoever scores the most goals is probably going to win. Now, how can the Caps do that? . . . Well, let’s take a look with the help of my handy telestrator . . .
“The most important player, of course, is Alex Ovechkin. I really like this kid – he’s big, strong, knocks people down, and he’s got this scraggly kinda beard that makes him look scary. Then there’s that visor he wears….looks a little like Jim McMahon, the guy who used to quarterback for the Bears … anyway, here’s Ovechkin, and usually he kinda swoops out of his own territory (“zone,” Coach) – yeah, yeah, zone…like this –SCHWOOP! – and heads down the field (“ice…”) – uh, ice – and then someone passes .. “passes,” right? … passes him the puck – ZIP!! – and he’s off to the races. When a cornerback (“defenseman”) – ok, defenseman – picks him up, he just cuts inside – SCHWIP!! – better than Terrell Owens, and with a whole lot less controversy – huhhuh – and heads in on the goalie, who by this time is sort of thinking about another line of work. He moves the puck – puck? – puck over here… then he moves it over here (that’s a “deke,” coach) – deke? I thought that was a fraternity … whatever … and while the goalie is looking at the bench to get another jockstrap to replace the one he was just faked out of, Ovechkin just whacks the puck into the back of the net – BAM!! And just like that, it’s a touchdown for the Caps . . . (“go- . . . oh, whatever, coach”)
“Then there’s Olie Kolzig . . . I think he’s really a linebacker in pads – huhhuh – but that’s just an old coach talkin’. He’s been here, how long? Since McKinley was President, I think. But he’s still got what it takes . . . I like the way he goes down to his knees and spreads his pads apart (“butterfly…”) – butterfly?... hmm, imagine that… ok, then he does this split….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzip! – oh, that’s gotta hurt! And ya gotta love a goalie who uses sticks like kindling – BAM! BAMBAMBAM!!! Not like those guys with names ya can’t pronounce who go cryin’ to the ref whenever the wind from someone skating by blows in their face.
“Anyway, I like the Caps’ chances tonight . . . they’re back home in front of thousands – well, dozens – of their rabid fans, Ovechkin looks like he’s about ready to start going on a tear, that kid – what’s his name, Semin?....can you say, “Semin,” in a family blog? – has seven goals, the defense is playing better . . . I think the Caps will win by a couple o’ touchdowns.”
Tampa Bay comes into the game last in the Southeast. Actually, there isn’t much mystery to that. Their leading scorer is Ryan Craig, who is not one of the big three with big contracts. Speaking of Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards, and Martin St. Louis, they are a combined 3-9-12, -2. Generally, the Bolts have had a Devil of a time scoring goals, looking more like dead Ducks than high Flyers . . . The Peerless just hopes they don’t go Wild tonight. Marc Denis had played very well thus far, splitting six decisions with a 2.11 GAA (9th in the league) and .910 save percentage (17th). It’s goal support he seems to lack. Tampa Bay has but 16 goals in seven games.
For the Caps, the key seems to be staying out of the extra session – two shootout losses and a loss in overtime in their three extra-time games so far. They are 2-1 in regulation decisions, both wins coming by 5-2 scores. As for tonight, here is something to watch for . . . through six games, only one Caps defenseman has scored a goal – Jamie Heward, who has two markers. That any one of the other six have not scored a goal is not necessarily a surprise – and not necessarily even a concern this early – but for none of them to have scored a goal is a bit of a surprise. Otherwise, those six defensemen are a combined 0-8-8 (Brian Pothier has five of those assists), +4. That Washington is 23rd on the power play might be related to the defensemen not being much a part of the offense in that regard . . . the defensemen are a combined 1-4-5 (including Heward) in power play scoring.
But, after giving up a lead late in the Atlanta game, The Peerless suspects the Caps will not be in a hospitable mood this evening. It will not go well for Tampa . . .
Caps 5 – Lightning 2
-- The Peerless