Yes! It’s finally time to “Rock the Red” once again, and after a long (and stupid) lock out the NHL is back. The Washington Capitals go against South East Division foes the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight and it is sure to be a great game.
Tampa Bay is one of the best all around skilled teams in the NHL, not only can they outscore you but they can also win the turnover battle . Containment will be the key for the Capitals to have success in this game. You have to contain guys like Steven Stamkos, Benoit Pouliot and Vincent Lecavalier and stopping these three should really push the Capitals to a win.
But one thing the Caps have over the Lighting is complete team speed, which should definitely work in favor of the Capitals. Washington needs to make quick line changes to not only keep players fresh for the whole game but to also keep the Lightning completely off balance.
Here are some keys to the game that should help the Capitals to victory tomorrow:
1. Feed Ovechkin!: As it has been shown last year, this team really isn’t set up to be a defensive team at all. Adam Oates must dial Ovie’s number early and often. You have to let him do his thing instead of leaving one of the NHL’s best talents on the bench. I know tha’ts not what team sports is about but when you have one of the premeire talents in your sport, you best utilize him to the fullest.
2. Don’t give Stamkos time to do anything: This guys scares me. Stamkos along with Ovechkin and Crosby have developed into the NHL’s most marketable guys along with being the most talented. He has a ton of speed and puck skills for days. Stamkos must have an eye kept on him at all times. The best bet on how to defend Steven is be really physical with him, and give him absolutely no room to breath.
3. Keep the puck out of our own end: This has been a problem for the Capitals in years past, as it seemed like the other team had the puck on our end most of the game. We have to make sure that when Tampa Bay dumps the puck into our zone, we must get it out as quick as possible. Don’t wait on these guys to plow through our defense and take it for a easy score.
4. Give Holtby an easy night: Capitals need to take over the game early, don’t let them stick around to the end. Tampa Bay is a dangerous 3rd period team and just needs one little opening to do a lot of damage. Keep the Lighting’s big three away from Holtby for the majority of the game and I think we should be fine.
5. If it aint broke dont fix it: If the Caps have success early, lets not do the “hey lets change it up om them” thing that they always seem to do. The team knows it’s in for a dog fight and the Lightning are going to try to be as physical and as dangerous as the Capitals. Washington must play their game and keep it simple. If they try to do to much it could be hard for the Capitals to salvage any kind a momentum in the game.
The fans have been waiting for this for a long time, and now that is finally here, I expect great things from this team and nothing more than that. The Capitals have shown this town how to win again, and now is the time to show us how to win a championship.
The road to the cup starts tonight.