Friday, November 28, 2008

Pre-Game: Capitals vs Canadiens

It's amazing what home ice advantage can do for a team. Washington (12-7-3) came off three straight road losses, and were up to their neck in injuries before returning home to face division rival, Atlanta. The Capitals beat the Thrashers 5-3 in a game that was really never that close.

A win over Atlanta is two points, but it's nothing to get excited about. Tonight the Capitals will welcome the Montreal Canadiens (12-5-4) who have been excellent on the road, posting a 7-3-2 away record. However, the Caps have been even better at home, with an undefeated in regulation mark of 8-0-1.

The last time these two teams met, Alex Ovechkin had one of the best games of his career. I'll let this video by Going Five Hole do the talking.

I was lucky enough to be in attendance for that game, and will be cheering the Capitals on tonight also. Montreal was my first choice for my one away game this year, but tickets are basically twice as expensive as Caps tickets are, and are about as easy to get as tickets to a Yankees/Red Sox game.

Here's what Montreal has got going for them:
  • Carey Price is 10-4-3 (2.34/.923) but his only game against Washington was the 5-4 overtime loss last season. Backup Jaroslav Halak is 2-0 against the Capitals with 2.00/.913 supporting numbers.
  • Alexei Kovalev leads the Habs with eight goals (8-9-17) and has had great success against Washington in his career. Washington is tied (with Carolina) for the most power play goals conceded to Kovalev in his career with nine.
  • Habs' center, Tomas Plekanec registered eight points (2-6-8) in four games last year against Washington. This year Plekanec has 12 points (5-7-12) in 21 games and is coming off a career year where he picked up 69 points (29-40-69) and missed just one game.
  • Ex-Cap Robert Lang will return to play his former team where he has 20 points (8-12-20) in 22 games against the Capitals. Lang was traded in 2004 for Tomas Fleischmann, a 2004 1st round pick (Mike Green), and a 4th rounder in 2006 (Luke Lyne).
  • The Canadiens have struggled with the extra man and are 18.6% on the road and just 11.4% at home. The power play is the only real "problem" with the Habs. They are 8-1-2 when scoring first and are even 7-4-1 when out-shot.
As trade rumors are still swirling around Michael Nylander, the injuries just keep piling up. Tom Poti left Wednesday's game with a groin pull, and will miss tonight's game.

No comments: