Monday, December 27, 2010

Game #39 Preview: Montreal Canadiens at Washington Capitals


Where: Verizon Center, Washington, DC

When:  December 28, 2010 7:00 PM

History:           
Caps Record on this Date: 6-8-4-1
Caps Game 39 Record: 15-14-5-1
All-Time vs. MON: 53-67-17-2
All-Time at Home vs. MON: 32-28-9-0
Last Season vs. MON: 2-1-1
Last Meeting: 2/10/10, WAS 5 MON 6 (OT)

This Year:
WAS Record: 21-12-5
Standings Points: 47
Division Rank: 2nd
Conference Rank: 5th
Last Game: 12/26/10, WAS 3 CAR 2
Streak: Win 1

MON Record: 20-14-2
Standings Points: 42
Division Rank: 1st
Conference Rank: 3rd    
Last Game: 12/26/10, MON 1 NYI 4
Streak: Loss 1

Probable Line-Ups:     
Washington
Forward Line 1: 8 OVECHKIN, 19 BACKSTROM, 28 SEMIN
Forward Line 2: 21 LAICH, 85 PERRAULT, 22 KNUBLE
Forward Line 3: 25 CHIMERA, 90 JOHANSSON, 26 HENDRICKS
Forward Line 4: 39 STECKEL, 83 BEAGLE, 63 GORDON
Defense Pair 1: 52 GREEN, 23 HANNAN
Defense Pair 2: 27 ALZNER, 74 CARLSON
Defense Pair 3: 89 SLOAN, 4 ERSKINE
Goalie: 30 NEUVIRTH
Back-up Goalie: 1 VARLAMOV

Carolina
Forward Line 1: 13 CAMMALLERI, 14 PLEKANEC, 46 KOSTITSYN
Forward Line 2: 67 PACIORETTI, 11 GOMEZ, 21 GIONTA
Forward Line 3: 52 DARCHE, 15 HALPERN, 40 LAPIERRE
Forward Line 4: 57 POULIOT, 81 ELLER, 94 PYATT
Defense Pair 1: 44 HAMRLIK, 6 SPACEK
Defense Pair 2: 75 GILL, 26 GORGES
Defense Pair 3: 45 PICARD, 68 WEBER
Goalie: 31 PRICE
Back-up Goalie: 35 AULD

Injuries:
Washington – 55 SCHULTZ (broken thumb) IR, 3 POTI (undisclosed) DTD, 15 GORDON (lower body) IR, 17 KING (undisclosed) IR, 10 BRADLEY (broken finger) IR

MON – 79 MARKOV (knee) IR

Caps Milestones:
Mike Knuble needs 2 points to reach 500 in his career.
Nicklas Backstrom needs 7 points to reach 300 in his career.

Preview:

In the first meeting between these two clubs since Game 7 of last year’s Round 1 of the playoffs, Montreal comes calling to the Verizon Center for a match with the Capitals. The Caps are bruised and battered but have put together a solid string of games and are 3-1-2 in their last 6 contests. They look to continue the solid defensive play that has given up an average of 2.17 goals per game in those 6 games. The Capitals offense is beginning to heat up with Alex Ovechkin recording a 2-point night against Carolina on Sunday. Look for the Caps to keep the play simple with an aggressive forecheck and solid backchecking. I expect another close game with Ovechkin being a major factor.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 3 MON 1

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