The Washington Capitals have recently concluded a four-game road trip with stops in Minnesota, Winnipeg, Colorado, and Montreal. FiCP takes a look at what was a roller-coaster type week. Continue reading “Caps Road Trip Roundup: Injuries, Controversy, and Intense Games”
The Washington Capitals had the day off on Friday after a win in Ottawa (5-4_against the Senators. The Canadiens traveled to Washington after their Thursday night win against the Sabres (3-2). Both games ended in shootouts.
The Habs took advantage of their early arrival and the Caps day off to get in some practice before the Saturday 7 pm Capitals home opener at the Capital One Arena. And that practice meant the return of Caps’ beloved defenseman, Karl Alzner. The Caps failed to offer him a new contract, leading him to the ice in Montreal. We were both glad and sad to see him skate – he looked so at home…
Initially Kettler Ice Plex was pretty empty – except for one lone Habs fan. Several Caps players were there working out and stopping to say “hey” to Karl. And of course to watch the competition (Eller). Seems Oshie was pretty interested in goalie Carrie Price!!
The Canadiens ended the 2016-17 season the Atlantic Division champs. Their road record was: 23–14–4. Max Pacioretty was number one in overall points and goals and second in assists. The team captain hopes to redeem the team after a first round elimination in the playoffs. General manager Marc Bergevin spent the off season making some adjustments to the roster, adding Karl Alzner, David Schlemko, Joe Morrow and Mark Streit,
Coaches working hard this season to get the Habs back to a winning team.
Montreal has one of the best goalies in the league. Carey Price will be starting against the Capitals – most likely with Braden Holtby at the other end of the ice. Al Montoya will be in the backup position.
The Caps will be facing a team much like themselves on Saturday. Both want to make the most of the adjustments to their lines and come out winners. It is sure to be a bit of an emotional night as the Caps pay tribute the a Karl Alzner who left a lasting mark on the community.
When the 2015/16 season started all eyes were on Montreal and the nine-game winning streak that ended when they fell to the Vancouver Canucks on 27 October. Since then the Habs have gone in and out of the win column. They fly into Washington with a five-game losing streak, minus their starting goalie (Carey Price) and defenseman Tom Gilbert left the game on December 23 with a lower-body injury. Gilbert, along with defenseman Jeff Petry are listed day-to-day and could return to play after the Christmas break. Forward Brendan Gallagher, their “spark-plug” is out too. This is not the same team that started the season on fire but clearly they are coming to town with their eyes set on breaking the Caps six-game winning streak.
So who on the Habs do we need to be worried about? Even with their ups and downs, they are still first place in the Atlantic Division with 20 wins in 36 games played and nine points behind the Caps. They are 7th in the league.
Max Pacioretty (67): Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette writes that Max hasn’t been himself without Gallagher. Pacioretty leads the team in points (67) with 37 goals and 30 assists.
Thomas Plekanec (14): Cowan claims he too is off his game right now. Yet he is their second leading scorer with 26 goals and 34 assists.
P.K. Subban (76): Subban always causes problems when the Caps face him. He is a big guy and a hard hitter. No telling what might happen between Wilson and Subban. He has had one goal and five assists in the last 10 days.
Mike Condon: The go-to goalie while Carey Price heals. He has allowed 11 goals in the past five games and is about 50-50 on wins when he is in the net.
The Capitals ended their second winning streak this season with a win against Montreal December 3rd at Bell Centre, losing to Winnipeg the following game. They know all too well what they need to do to get the jump on the Habs early in the first period. Montreal outshot Washington the last time they met which means the Caps’ defensemen will need to be on top of their game. It hurts not having Brooks Orpik but the D has been strong these past few games with the help of Nate Schmidt stepping into Orpik’s role.
Bottom line: This could be anybody’s game. The Caps want to keep building their positive streak while the Habs want to break their negative streak. Both teams play physical games and we can expect plenty of powerful hits and fights. Tom Wilson could be a target for this game, but the Habs should also keep an eye on T.J. Oshie who scored twice in the Caps 3-2 victory December 3rd. Should be an exciting post-Christmas game in Washington.