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President’s Trophy Watch, 3/30 March 29, 2010

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.

Surprisingly, there are still three teams in the West in the hunt for the President’s Trophy: San Jose, Chicago, and (yeah, I forgot these guys were in it, too) Phoenix. Here’s who’s in action, and what could happen.

OTTAWA AT WASHINGTON. The easiest way to get closer to the prize is to take care of business yourself. Ottawa isn’t too far from a playoff berth–I think they need three points at last check–so this could be a potential playoff preview here. If the Senators slip and skid down the stretch and end up in the 8 spot, we’d draw them in the first round. If the Sens and Caps both make the second round, and Ottawa is the lowest seed available, that’s who we’d face. So this could be a very good measuring stick for how we stack up against playoff-caliber competition. A win here would lower the Caps’ magic number for the President’s Trophy to 5 against idle San Jose.

PHOENIX AT VANCOUVER. The ‘Yotes actually have 112 for their top-end score, so I’m going to include them here because they’re mathematically in contention for now. Any three-point combination between the Caps and Coyotes (i.e., WSH W/PHX O or L, OR WSH O/PHX L) would officially eliminate Phoenix from the President’s Trophy hunt. It’s quite a testament to the Coyotes that they’re still mathematically in the mix for the President’s Trophy in the last week of March.

CHICAGO AT ST LOUIS. The Hawks could lock up their season series with the Blues tonight, but Caps fans need to be cheering for the Blues like they’re going out of style. A Chicago loss here would leave the Hawks only four points’ worth of breathing room in the President’s Trophy race. And if the Capitals take any points against the Senators, that number could be smaller than four. If the Caps win, and the Hawks lose in regulation–and this is a division rivalry game, so anything can happen–that would leave the Caps’ magic number against Chicago as 2.

Bottom line: Closest the Caps can get to the President’s Trophy on Tuesday is 5 against San Jose with a win. Phoenix could be out of the running at the end of the night, and Chicago’s hopes for the President’s Trophy could be on life support.

The assumption I’m making here is that the Caps hold serve at home. I’m certain that whatever errors were made in the first period on Sunday afternoon SHALL not be repeated.

If the Caps win tonight, they could be very, very close to having home ice through the entire playoffs. A loss wouldn’t be the end of the world, but it would make the race a lot more exciting than it needs to be.



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