Tampa Bay Lightning Pregame: Final Sprint

Saturday’s win over the Canadiens was way too close, but two points were gained and that is all that matters. Now, in this final week of the regular season, six points remain available. The Caps kinda need all of those if they want home-ice advantage in the playoffs.

That means getting two tonight in Tampa.

What the heck happened to Tampa anyway? They were the breakout team in the east last year, going pretty darn far with a bright youngling (Stamkos), a wizened old man  (Roloson), and a magical halfling (St. Louis). They swept our Capitals out in the second round almost took a series away from the eventual champions, the Boston Bruins.

A normal sized human

This year, the team kinda blows. The big difference is Dwayne Roloson, who dropped from a .914 Sv% to an .884 Sv%. Steven Stamkos, meanwhile, is the best offensive player in the league with 56 goals. Keeping that tally stalled will be a big part of getting the win.

The Bolts no longer have Steve Downie, whom they dealt to the Avalanche, immediately halving their DOUCHEBAG/60 stat. That alone will make tonight’s game much more pleasant.

I don’t think I need to impress on you how important this game is, but I’m gonna do it anyway:

The Capitals are in 8th place, 2 points ahead of Buffalo. They probably ain’t catching Ottawa, but winning the division title is still possible. Here are all the games we care about:

Capitals @ Lightning       Monday 
Panthers vs Jets           Tuesday 
Sabres vs Maple Leafs      Tuesday 
Capitals vs Panthers       Thursday 
Sabres @ Flyers            Thursday 
Sabres @ Boston            Saturday 
Panthers vs Canes          Saturday
Capitals @ NYR             Saturday

 

As we’ve written about before, the Capitals suck on the road. If the Caps make the playoffs, which is likely, having the benefit of home ice could be the difference between playing golf soon and playing golf REALLY soon. We’ll know for sure on Saturday. Speaking of which: you coming to our party???

Puck drops at 7. It’ll be on NBC Sports, but I think Joe B is calling it.

Here’s a tune from last year’s playoffs:

  • serpent

    Gaa!!! another heart attack game! I can’t stand it!
    Aside from that, it’s a good thing Stamkos is so talented because he’s sure a homely kid.

  • http://www.facebook.com/K8Speelman Kate Speelman

    Don’t we also care about Capitals @ Rangers on Saturday?

  • Guest

    if the caps win all three of their next games, and the panthers tie or lose another game (besides the one against the caps), the caps win the division. Otherwise the caps just need to win 2 out of their next 3 to get in 8th (or less if Buffalo loses, but this is worst case)

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Russian Machine Never Breaks

    MAYBE

  • Jason

    Not sure if I want to win the division. Assuming we manage to get out of the first round, we would play New Jersey and the winner of Philly/Pittsburgh. As opposed to playing NYR and Boston. That is if we get out of the first round, which I have my doubts about.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Russian Machine Never Breaks

    maybe best goalie in the east on home-ice (where the Caps have trouble) or NEW JERSEY.

    Cmon.

  • serpent

    “the winner of Philly/Pittsburgh” meaning whoever is not in the hospital or in jail after the game?

  • Guest

    yea. No use thinking like that, its all about the ice advantage, any of these teams is going to be tough, and the Caps are dreadful on the road, minimizing game 7s on the road would be clutch

  • Skibrent

    Yes, because we’ve been so successful the last few years with Game 7s at home.