Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Game #40 Preview: Flyers @ Capitals 1/6/09

The Capitals clearly seem to think this is their biggest game of the season. The Flyers, who were absolutely ecstatic after a loss to Los Angeles of all teams, don't. The Caps come in with incredible hunger (though possibly the same hunger they had in that 7-1 loss in December...), whereas the Flyers come in with scrolls of injuries and a sort of disconcerting "losses are good enough" mindset.

All the same, D.C. has always been a happy place for the Flyers. I know it has been for me. Sitting behind the Caps bench at USAir Arena, forming an orange backdrop for the TV cameras, having "Let's Go Flyers chants" drown out the PA system, and so on.

And then there was last April. Boy, was that fun. Leonsis did a phenomenal job of keeping Flyers fans from taking over the Verizon Center like they usually did, so there were only about 100 or so clad Flyers fans in attendance. And Caps fans had never been nastier or more riled up into their new found "redness" or whatever. A couple people tried to start fights with me, the most notable being a guy who eventually got restrained by his grandkids.

And of course, I brought my camera.

Sigh, good times.

Why The Flyers Will Win:

  • The Flyers are way up in the Caps' kitchen. Like WAY up in their kitchen. The Caps couldn't score on thirty-nine shots in two periods last game, and despite outshooting the Flyers , they lost 7-1. 7-1. This in a game with much of the same pre-game talk of life-or-death from the Caps, they came out and laid an egg. The Capitals core of players has only ever played one playoff series (and acted like they'd never been there before, too), and seem to be irreparably scarred from it. Bruce Boudreau and Mike Green especially. As much as they talk, the Caps have a huge mental block when it comes to the Flyers that they may never get over.
  • The Flyers have played well in games with standings implications. Since the Rangers reclaimed first last night with a win over the plummeting Penguins, this is one of those games. The Caps may not need motivation, but the Flyers might.
  • It's not just me, the Flyers themselves obviously will have a lot of good memories coming back to DC. Like this one:

  • Since Lupul is out of the lineup, no Flyer should have better memories of Game 7 than Martin Biron, a player who thrives on confidence.

Why The Capitals Will Win:

  • Alex Ovechkin.
  • Simply put, the Caps have been playing MUCH better than the Flyers of late. Injuries have something to do with it, for sure, the but Caps have been winning games, even when they're not playing well. Especially at home, where the Caps have posted a gross 17-1-1 record. The Flyers, on the other hand, are only 9-6-5 on the road.
  • Alex Ovechkin.
  • Motivation has to mean something, right?
  • Alex Ovechkin.

One more thing about Ovechkin: Especially in the wake of his ridiculous snub for the All-Star game, he might feel some extra motivation to put up big numbers with his NHL goals co-leader (Carter) on the ice. Could go the other way, too, naturally.

Carter, though, might be more concerned about projectile beer bottles.

Puck drops at seven. We predict a Capitals OT/SO win that leaves the Flyers satisfied and the Caps ecstatic.


breed16 said...

"As much as they talk, the Caps have a huge mental block when it comes to the Flyers that they may never get over."

Interesting assertion. Hey, I can pull random assertions out of my ass too. Mike Richards likes little boys. Jeff Carter likes balls on his chin, especially Danny Briere's. Etcetera.

Yes, I'm bitter.

the_Froin said...

good post. Can't wait for tonight. I hope Semin and Nodl fight. Let's Go Flyers!

Alex R said...

the mental block was w/ the penguins but that is all old news. its a new generation of players. your team is motivation win or lose.

Stephen said...

the "Flyers Frequent" isn't too Frequent it appears......