Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Peerless Prognsoticator is ON THE AIR!!! -- Caps vs. Lightning, October 24th

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
A tale of a hockey game
That started from this tropic port
To Washington they came.

The mate was a midget skating man,
The skipper loud and lame.
The skaters took the ice that night
For a three hour game, a three hour game.

The contest started getting rough,
The Lightning could not cope,
If not for the bad calls of the referees
The Bolts would have no hope…the Bolts would have no hope.

The Lightning took the ice that night to skate for just a while
With St. Louis...
The Skipper too,
The sieve in goal and I-can't-find-anything-to-rhyme-with "his wife,"
The big all-star...
The defensemen without their Dan,
Here on St. Louis’ Isle.

So this is the tale of Tampa Bay,
Just here for a short, short time,
They'll have to make the best of things,
It's an uphill climb.

The midget and the Skipper too,
Will do their very best,
To make the Lightning comfortable,
In a Seventh Street skate-fest.

No goals, no saves, no two point night,
Not a single luxury,
Just like our friend Don Cherry,
As primative as can be.

So join us here tonight my friends,
You're sure to get a smile,
From twenty Lightning castways,
Here on "St. Louis’ Isle."

As for the Bolts, they're coming in with a two point lead on the Caps and a game in hand. Fortunately for Washington, Tampa Bay has not won either of their road games to date. And, while Tampa Bay has allowed only six goals in four home games, they've allowed ten in two road contests.

However, Tampa does have a formidable offense. Their 3.50 goals per game ranks fourth in the league, while their goals against -- 2.67 -- is a perhaps a surprising 13th, given the issues concerning their goaltending.

With respect to the goaltending, the Lightning have that comparatively low goals-against, but they've done it with a rather pedestrian save percentage -- .890. For the Caps, the mantra might be "more shots...more shots..."

If the Caps' power play is to emerge from its doldrums, it might be tonight. Tampa Bay sits 20th in the league at 79.2 percent in penalty killing. In two road games, they gave up no power play goals to Boston -- but that was because they faced no shorthanded situations -- and gave up three in eight chances to Florida.

Conversely, the Lighting power play has been somewhat frustrated so far. They're 11th overall at 20.7 percent, but they have converted only once in ten road opportunities.

This being a division game, and the Lightning hosting Philadelphia tomorrow, we're guessing Johan Holmqvist gets the start tonight in goal. It's not as if he has a great career record against the Caps -- 3-2, 3.79, .847 -- it's just that Marc Denis really hasn't fared any better (4-3-1, 3,71, .881). Since Holmqvist is the only Lightning goalie with a win this year (Denis has played in only a portion of one game), he seems likely to get the nod.

If you're looking for something tonight, look for Michael Nylander and Alexander Ovechkin on the power play. Nylander has 22 assists in 27 career games against the Lightning; Ovechkin hs nine goals in 16 career games against Tampa Bay. If those two are on the power play together, we might see some of that chemistry we're all so anxious to see.

This is one of those "four point" games -- a division game where the Caps can earn two points at the expense of a division rival who fails to cash in on those points. It will be an opportunity for special teams -- especially the power play -- to shake off the dust. That, and a couple of points from that third line, will be the difference...

Caps 5 -- Lightning 3


CapsChick said...

We're getting so musical lately! I think we should put out a CD of Caps blogger's musical concoctions - better than the original, well done!

(Of course now that damn song is going to be running through my head all day...)

Anonymous said...

Nice call on the score. That must be why they call you Peerless.