Saturday, March 26, 2011

Game #76 Preview: Washington Capitals at Montreal Canadiens

Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec

When:  March 26, 2011, 7:00 PM

Caps Record on this Date: 5-8-1-0
Caps Game 76 Record: 15-10-8-1
All-Time vs. MON: 55-67-17-3
All-Time at MON: 22-39-8-2
Last Season vs. MON: 2-1-1
Last Meeting: 3/15/11, WAS 4 MON 2
Season Series: 2-0-1

This Year:
WAS Record: 43-22-10
Standings Points: 96
Division Rank: 1st
Conference Rank: 2nd
Last Game: 3/25/11, WAS 0 OTT 2
Streak: Loss 1

MON Record: 40-28-7
Standings Points: 87
Division Rank: 2nd
Conference Rank: 6th    
Last Game: 3/24/11, MON 0 BOS 7
Streak: Loss 2

Probable Line-Ups:     
Forward Line 1: 21 LAICH, 19 BACKSTROM, 28 SEMIN
Forward Line 2: 18 STURM, 90 JOHANSSON, 22 KNUBLE
Forward Line 3: 25 CHIMERA, 83 BEAGLE, 26 HENDRICKS
Forward Line 4: 17 KING, 15 GORDON, 10 BRADLEY
Defense Pair 1: 55 SCHULTZ, 6 WIDEMAN
Defense Pair 2: 27 ALZNER, 74 CARLSON
Defense Pair 3: 23 HANNAN, 4 ERSKINE
Goalie: 30 NEUVIRTH
Back-up Goalie: 1 VARLAMOV

Forward Line 1: 32 MOEN, 11 GOMEZ, 21 GIONTA
Forward Line 2: 13 CAMMALLERI, 14 PLEKANEC, 15 HALPERN
Forward Line 3: 46 KOSTITSYN, 81 ELLER, 52 DARCHE
Forward Line 4: 53 WHITE, 58 DESHARNAIS, 57 POULIOT
Defense Pair 1: 44 HAMRLIK, 20 WISNIEWSKI
Defense Pair 2: 75 GILL, 76 SUBBAN
Defense Pair 3: 22 MARA, SOPEL
Goalie: 31 PRICE
Back-up Goalie: 35 AULD

Washington – 3 POTI (upper body) IR, (upper body) IR, 52 GREEN (head) IR, 8 OVECHKIN (undisclosed) DTD, 44 ARNOTT (undisclosed) DTD

MON – PACIORETTY (concussion, broken neck) IR, MARKOV (knee) IR, GORGES (knee) IR, SPACEK (knee) IR

Caps Milestones:
Jason Arnott needs 2 goals to reach 400 in his career.
Jason Chimera needs 4 goals to reach 100 in his career.
Alex Ovechkin needs 2 goals to reach 300 in his career.


The Capitals will look to rebound against a not so great an effort in Ottawa last night. A Saturday night game in Montreal may be just the thing to get the Caps back on the winning track. The team is looking for a bit of identity with the absence of the superstar Alex Ovechkin. I expect that you’ll see Nicklas Backstrom pick up his game tonight. The big question for the Caps is who will start in goal. Michal Neuvirth was too sick to play yesterday and it was the first game back from a knee injury for Semyon Varlamov so I don’t think they want start him in back to backs. The third option is Braden Holtby as a call up from Hershey. We’ll see what happens. I expect another grinding type game with a lot of energy. The Caps better be prepared to match the energy level of the Canadians. In the end I think the Caps come away with a close hard fought victory.

Joe’s prediction: Caps 3 MON 1

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