Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gameday Preview: Caps vs. Canadiens

Who: Your Nation's Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens
Where: Verizon Center
601 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
When: Wednesday, December 27, 2006, 7:30 pm

Broadcast Info: CSN, WTNT 570 AM; TSN/RDS, CJAD 800

Media Notes:
Washington Post
Montreal Gazette - for those of you who speak French...

2005-06 Season Series: Caps 2-1-1, Canadiens 2-2-0

2006-07 Standings: Caps 16-13-7, 39 points - 3rd in division, 9th in conference; Canadiens 21-9-5, 47 points - 2nd in division, 4th in conference

Last Game: March 30 in Montreal, Caps lost 3-2 in OT
- After a scoreless first period, the Habs and Caps alternated goals through the final two frames to force overtime. Montreal rookie Christopher Higgins had both goals in regulation for Montreal, earning his 18th and 19th goals after a slow start to the season.
- Ovechkin had 2 assists in the game to bring his points total to 93 but remained 2 goals shy of the 50-goal mark.
- The first Caps goal, scored by Clymer, tied the game up with less than two minutes remaining in the second period. Jeff Halpern would score the equalizer on the power play with just 2.5 seconds remaining in regulation.
- Koivu's overtime winner was his first goal since January 28th, when he scored twice in a 4-3 victory over Toronto. It came with 57.4 seconds remaining in overtime.
- The Caps were shorthanded for a good portion of the game, taking 10 penalties, but managed to kill off all but 1. They also converted once with the extra man.
- 6 of the players on Washington's roster for this game are no longer with the Caps, while the Habs have kept all but two including Richard Zednik.
- After being outshot 17-7 in the first period, the Caps bounced back to outshoot Montreal 10-7 in the second and 12-5 in the third. However, they failed to register a single shot in overtime.

Things to Look for:
- Montreal has been off since the 23rd while the Caps had to first travel up to Buffalo early yesterday morning before flying home after the game. That may actually work in the Caps' favor, though, if they can carry the momentum from two solid periods against the Sabres into the first period tonight and catch the Habs napping a bit.
- The Habs recently had their 5-game winning streak snapped by Boston and are 6-1-2 in their last nine games. They have yet to lose two straight games in regulation.
- Going into yesterday's game against Buffalo, the Caps power play had improved to 14th overall on the backs of an impressive 3 for 6 in Toronto. Their penalty killing has slipped lately, though, and is ranked only 20th in the league.
- Montreal's special teams have been very hot this season - they currently hold the best power play in the league and their penalty killing is ranked second.
- Both teams are notorious for allowing a lot of shots per game, with the Habs leading only the Caps in that category.
- Montreal goaltender Cristobal Huet has put up some sparkling numbers so far this season, posting a 2.36 GAA (8th best), .931 save percentage, and 2 shutouts.
- Hanlon did a little bit of shuffling with his lineup last night, both before the game and during in an attempt to increase offense, so it's hard to say whether the Caps will return to the normal forward line combos or continue to tinker. Morrisonn remains day-to-day with the flu.

Possible Lineup for the Caps
8-Alex "Lemme Hear It!" Ovechkin, 9-Dainius "Tossed Again" Zubrus, 17-Chris "Shortie" Clark
28-Alex "Laser" Semin, 24-Kris "the Scorer" Beech, 18-Matt "the Non-Scorer" Pettinger
87-Donald "Bodyguard" Brashear, 16-Brian "Can't Buy a Goal" Sutherby, 27-Ben "Sicky" Clymer
21-Brooks "Gordie Howe" Laich, 15-Boyd "Killer" Gordon, 38-Jakub "Gettin' Physical" Klepis

2-Brian "Turnover" Pothier, 55-Jeff "Wait Up!" Schultz
6-Jamie "Scarface" Heward, 52-Mike "PIM King" Green
3-Lawrence "Ovie's Assistant" Nycholat, 44-Steve "the Statue" Eminger

1-Brent "Olie" Johnson, 37-Olie "the Anchor" Kolzig

Possible Lineup for the Canadiens
11-Saku "Kaptain K" Koivu, 21-Chris "the New Golden Boy" Higgins, 73-Michael "Newfie" Ryder
15-Sergei "Monkey Boy" Samsonov, 35-Tomas "the Tank Engine" Plekanec, 27-Alexei "the Pilot" Kovalev
42-Alexander Perezhogin, 14-Radek "Sound Effect" Bonk, 20-Mike "Thank God I'm Out of Phoenix" Johnson
57-"Wayne and" Garth Murray, 84-Guillaume "Patrick Roy's a Chump" Latendresse

25-Mathieu "The More You" Dandenault, 44-Sheldon "the Sniper" Souray
51-Francois "Boo-yah!" Bouillon, 52-Craig Rivet
8-Michael "Komisaurus" Komisarek, 79-Andrei "Ovie's Greatest Fear" Markov
32-Mark "Swiss Army Knife" Streit

30-David "Abby" Aebischer, 39-Cristobal "Hip Hip" Huet

I do love my Habs, but have no fear - as soon as that puck drops, all loyalty to Le Bleu, Blanc et Rouge goes right out the window... least for 60 minutes.


Jordi said...

Watch out for the commentators to repeatedly mention Habs specialty stats and that "look the goalies speak French but they're NOT French Canadian! What are the chances!?"

Perezhogin had an interview recently where he didn't particular show much support for Latendresse. Fans think he's jealous etc etc. He's right now going through a bit of a dry spell as well.

I love TSN for their HD. Can't wait!

CapsChick said...

I seem to recall that Perezhogin is a bit of a loose cannon in general, isn't he?

HD - I'm jealous. Of course, I'll be at the game so that's not bad either :) Still, I finally got to see a game in HD earlier this season and the difference is amazing.

Enjoy the game!!