Tonight, the Washington Capitals return to the Verizon Center to face the Los Angeles Kings. A lot of what I said about the Kings in my game preview last week is true. This is a huge game for the Capitals because they are in a very good position right now as far as making the playoffs.
The Washington Capitals could end up with the first wild card spot tonight if several things happen:
- The Capitals win, preferably in regulation because regulation wins is a tiebreaker.
- The Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Detroit Red Wings in regulation.
- The St Louis Blues beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in regulation.
Beating the Kings is going to be a difficult task, but certainly not impossible. Despite losing to the Kings in a shootout, the Washington Capitals played arguably their best game of their California road trip against the Kings. Scoring goals against the Kings is never easy, but the Capitals stuck to their game plan and managed to steal a point in LA.
The best way to beat the Kings is to match their level of defensive play. You simply aren’t going to blowout the Kings. Their defense is too good. You can, however, beat them by controlling the puck and making the best of the chances that you get, which the Capitals did fairly well against them last week. Jonathan Quick simply played outstanding, which is something that the Capitals cannot control. One thing that the Capitals didn’t do well is capitalize on power plays. The Capitals are very good at drawing penalties, but that means nothing if you can’t capitalize on the ensuing power plays.
So basically, if the Washington Capitals play as well tonight as they did against the Kings a week ago and do a better job at capitalizing on power plays, I think they have a good chance at winning tonight.