Monday, January 28, 2008

Caps/Habs Home-and-Home Preview

Washington Capitals at Montréal Canadiens
Monday, January 28th, 2008
Bell Centre in Montréal, Québec
Last Meeting: January 5th, 2007, Capitals win 5-4 in overtime

About the Opponent

Montréal Canadiens (26-15-8, 2nd in the Northeast Division, 2nd in the Eastern Conference)

Team Leaders
Alexei Kovalev (21)
Saku Koivu (27)
Alexei Kovalev (45)
tie - Alexei Kovalev and Mike Komisarek (+11)
Penalty Minutes:
Tom Kostopoulos (85)
Tom Kostopoulos (7)

Betcha Didn't Know...
The Canadiens jersey has featured some variation on the current crest (the 'H' within the 'C') since 1916.

Random Canadiens Statistic
Not only is the Canadiens' potent powerplay clicking at 23.9% and ranked second in the NHL, they have also allowed only one shorthanded goal against.

Keys to the Game

Score the first goal. For all that the Capitals have done well since Bruce Boudreau took over, they're not scoring first nearly often enough and with how talented the Canadiens are defensively and the Bell Centre crowd behind them this would be an especially difficult game to come back in.

Keep the pressure up. The Capitals are simply too talent on offensive to try and hold them off all game if the play is in the Canadiens end.

Players to Watch

Brent Johnson - Tarik is reporting that Johnson, who has shined since Boudreau took over, will start tomorrow. With another strong outing Johnson could make the Caps' goaltending situation very interesting.

Tomas Plekanec - everyone know about Saku Koivu and Alexei Kovalev, but Plekanec has been an important part of the Canadiens success this year and is second on the team in points (42) and tied for second in goals (16).

Round the (Inter)net:
Teemu Selanne
is returning to the Ducks...unable to let any bit of significant NHL news pass without defending his title as the reigning bastion of negativity in the hockey world, Ross McKeon has already criticized him for for it...No need to panic, ESPN has found a way to cover Sidney Crosby even when he's not one the ice - talk about his life off the ice!...E.J. Hradek likes Alex Ovechkin for MVP...My nominee for Best New Hockey Blog goes to: I am the best in the world at NHL '94.

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