February 2012: Preview/Predictions
February is a month of love. Valentine’s Day marks the time where couples buy each other ridiculous amounts of flowers, chocolates, cheesy cards, and teddy bears while the single folks out there usually resort to the bottle.
Lately, Caps fans have been doing the latter. The Dale Hunter era has seen its highs and lows (not to mention its fair share of injuries and suspensions), and while most NHL fans are still giddy over the festivities of the All-Star break, Caps fans have started to become very worried that the season that was supposed to FINALLY culminate in a Stanley Cup parade might end before the playoffs even begin. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Here are my predictions for how the month of February will play out for the boys in the District.
Game Previews and Predictions
Caps @ Cats – 2/1/12
Back when the schedule was released, this just seemed like another easy game against the lowly Cats. This, however, has become a hotly contested race for the Southeast division, with each of these games against Florida becoming more and more crucial. Remember also that this is the final game that Alex Ovechkin has to sit out for his suspension, leaving Washington at a disadvantage.
Nosebleeder’s Prediction: Caps 4, Cats 1
Realist’s Prediction: Caps 2, Cats 1
Caps @ Canadiens – 2/4/12
The Bell Centre has never been a friendly confine for the Caps to play in. Montreal, however, has not been nearly as competitive as it usually is, currently sitting in 11th place in the East. The Caps need to be weary of this team, but maybe not nearly as weary as they have been in the past.
Nosebleeder’s Prediction: Caps 5, Canadiens 2
Realist’s Prediction: Caps 2, Canadiens 3
Caps VS Bruins – 2/5/12
The bruisers from Beantown recently visited DC and got thrashed by youngsters Matty Perrault and Cody Eakin. This time, however, the Bruins will not be experiencing any type of White House hangover, and should show their full might on the ice.
Nosebleeder’s Prediction: Caps 5, Bruins 3
Realist’s Prediction: Caps 1, Bruins 4
Caps VS Cats – 2/7/12
Same notes as before with the Cats, except this time, expect the Great 8 to be out on the ice.
Nosebleeder’s Prediction: Caps 4, Cats 0
Realist’s Prediction: Caps 3, Cats 0
Caps VS Jets – 2/9/12
Being relocated to Winnipeg has revitalized the former Atlanta Thrashers, but the constant long road trips that this team must endure will start to wear on them late in the season. The Jets currently sit in third in the Southeast, and will be a formidable opponent, but not too formidable for the Caps to overcome.
Nosebleeder’s Prediction: Caps 2, Jets 0
Realist’s Prediction: Caps 2, Jets 1
Caps @ Rangers – 2/12/12
The Rangers sit atop the East at the conclusion of the All Star Break and are only trailing the Red Wings by one mere point for the NHL lead. The Caps have had their share of success against the Blueshirts in the past, but if I’m a betting man, give me King Henrik at MSG.
Nosebleeder’s Prediction: Caps 2, Rangers 1
Realist’s Prediction: Caps 0, Rangers 3
Caps VS Sharks – 2/13/12
The Caps do not play well against San Jose. Ever.
Nosebleeder’s Prediction: Caps 3, Sharks 1
Realist’s Prediction: Caps 1, Sharks 3
Caps @ Cats – 2/17/12
The third and final matchup of the month (and the last until April 5th) is sure to be a good one, as both teams should still be in contention for the division lead at this point barring a complete meltdown by either squad. I’ve given the Caps the previous two games this month. Call me an optimist, but I see the Caps fortunes turn around as they finally start to pull away with the Southeast.
Nosebleeder’s Prediction: Caps 4, Cats 1
Realist’s Prediction: Caps 3, Cats 1
Caps @ Bolts – 2/18/12
The Bolts are not the same team as last year. Steve Stamkos is, however, still the goal scoring wizard that he has been his entire career. The Bolts fans will be looking for a quality win against an division foe at home, and I think they’ll get it. I know I just said that we were going to run away with this thing, but this game scares me.
Nosebleeder’s Prediction: Caps 3, Bolts 0
Realist’s Prediction: Caps 2, Bolts 3 (OT)
Caps @ Canes – 2/20/12
While the Bolts scare me, the Canes do not. The boys from Carolina have looked more like a mere tropical storm all season, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Nosebleeder’s Prediction: Caps 5, Canes 1
Realist’s Prediction: Caps 3, Canes 1
Caps @ Sens – 2/22/12
The Sens continue to surprise everybody in the NHL and sit at a respectable 6th in the East post-All Star game. The Ottawa faithful showed just how much they loved their team (and hate the Leafs) during the All Star weekend, and that kind of passion makes Ottawa a very tough place to play. That being said, the Caps match up very well against the Sens.
Nosebleeder’s Prediction: Caps 2, Sens 0
Realist’s Prediction: Caps 2, Sens 1
Caps VS Canadiens – 2/24/12
Like I noted before, the Canadiens are a struggling team this year and do not have the same talent as in year’s past. They still do have Carey Price and his goaltending prowess, and with the Caps knack for not getting enough shots on net, Price looks to have a pretty uneventful game.
Nosebleeder’s Prediction: Caps 2, Canadiens 1
Realist’s Prediction: Caps 2, Canadiens 1 (SO)
Caps @ Leafs – 2/25/12
Just like Ottawa fans love their Sens, Leafs fans LOVE their Leafs. Leafs hockey is essentially a religion up in Toronto. The Leafs do not have the same goal scoring problems that Washington does (they currently sit 6th in goals per game), and at home, they will look to avenge an embarrassing loss the last time these clubs played in early December.
Nosebleeder’s Prediction: Caps 3, Leafs 2
Realist’s Prediction: Caps 2, Leafs 3
Caps VS Islanders – 2/28/12
The Caps end the month with the Islanders at home. A nice little treat I’d say. While teams like Toronto, Florida, and Ottawa have had mini-resurgences, the other New York hockey team is still a joke, and are currently in a 3-way tie for the basement of the East with Buffalo and Carolina.
Nosebleeder’s Prediction: Caps 6, Isles 0
Realist’s Prediction: Caps 5, Isles 2
So I was a dismal 6 for 14 with my first predictions in December. Here’s to hoping February goes a little better.