Struggling Capitals Host Eliminated Wild Hoping To Remain In The Playoff Race
The Capitals for the 2nd time this year let the Winnipeg Jets come into to town and steal 2 points in extra time. When a team is on your heels for the final playoff spot this is probably not the best idea. The night before the Capitals left a point in Philly that they also should have had, are you sensing a theme here? The Capitals are giving away points at a time that they absolutely cannot afford it. The Caps have 7 games left and if they're going to make the playoffs they'll need to win at least 5 probably 6, so it's not looking good. However yesterday the Capitals got some great news off the ice when it was announced that center Nicklas Backstrom has been cleared to fully participate in practice, that is a huge step forward in Backstrom making a return for the playoffs.
Tonight the Capitals welcome the Minnesota Wild to the nation's capital, it will be their 1 and only meeting this season. For the Capitals tonight is a huge 2 points as they sit in 9th 2 points behind Buffalo for the final playoff spot, 4 points behind Ottawa for 7th and equally 4 points behind Florida for the Southeast Division lead and the 3rd seed heading into the playoffs. For the Wild this season will conclude without playoffs and go down as a disappointment, they currently sit in 13th in the West with just 72 points.
The goal-tending match-up tonight should be an interesting one. I expect Dale Hunter to throw Braden Holtby back in the net tonight, Braden has never faced the Wild in his career but has put up some great numbers. This year Braden is 1-1-1 with a 2.94 GAA and a .906 SV%, and has a career mark of 11-3-3 with a 2.02 GAA and a .928 SV %. The Wild will more than likely go with rookie Matt Hackett, who like Holtby has never faced the opponent tonight. Hackett is breaking into the NHL for the first time this season and through 11 appearances has a 3-5-0 record with a 2.30 GAA, and a .927 SV%.
Tonight's game has an odd 5 pm EST drop of the puck so get ready for some early pucking, tune in and lets hope our Caps can get a big W this evening
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
ALEXANDER OVECHKIN LW, WASHINGTON = Ovie is starting to heat up and look like the Ovie of old at the perfect time this season, look for him to light the lamp tonight.
BRADEN HOLTBY G, WASHINGTON = I've said it before and I'll say it again, Braden Holtby is the Capitals goalie of the future. The future may be now if Holtby has another strong performance tonight. How can you not give him a shot to remain the #1 with how terribly inconsistent Neuvirth and Vokoun have been this year?