Game Preview: Canadiens @ Capitals

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The Capitals continue their four game homestand on Wednesday night at Verizon Center as the Montreal Canadians make their second trip to the district.

Washington is coming off an exciting 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes that saw Mike Richards score his first goal with the Capitals.  The Canadians are coming off a 2-1 shootout loss on home ice to the Predators.  This home game is a monumental occasion for the Caps and their fans as it is the team’s 300th consecutive sellout at Verizon Center.  Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. on CSN+.

Series Flashback:
The Caps and Habs last squared off on Dec. 26 at Verizon Center.  Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jay Beagle and Jason Chimera each lit the lamp as the Capitals prevailed 3-1.  Braden Holtby made 29 saves for a .967 save percentage.  At the time, it was the Capitals seventh straight win.

Series Matchup:
This is the third and final meeting between these two teams this season and the Caps are going for the series sweep.

Scouting the Canadians:
Montreal carries a 28-27-5 record with 61 points, seven points back of the second and final wild card spot.  The Penguins currently hold that position with 68 points.  Part of the reason they’ve been struggling is due to the injury of Carey Price.  The 28-year old netminder was injured twice this season.  The first injury came on Oct. 29 against Edmonton and the second came on Nov. 25 in New York against the Rangers.  He hasn’t returned to action since.

Montreal is coming off of a home loss on Monday night to the Nashville Predators 2-1 in a shootout.  Trailing 1-0 in the first period, Brendan Gallagher scored the lone goal that tied it at 18:43.  Nobody scored the rest of regulation or 3-on-3 overtime so the game went into a shootout.  Even in the shootout, nobody was able to score until Nashville’s Craig Smith ended it.

Scouting the Capitals:
The Capitals enter this game having won four in a row.  Monday night in DC, they came up big with a 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes.  Trailing 1-0, a power play goal by Kuznetsov evened the score at 6:03 in the second period.  He skated from the boards to around the right faceoff circle and ripped a wrist shot past goalie Louis Domingue.  The Caps took the lead in the third period with 11:43 to go as Alex Ovechkin fired the puck right from his favorite spot.  Nobody was around him and he had plenty of time to put it in the back of the net from the slot.

Ovechkin’s goal was his 39th of the season and sets him one goal shy of his eighth career 40 goal season.  He would become the 10th player in NHL history to record eight or more 40 goal seasons.  His 39 goals lead the league.

The Caps went up 3-1 26 seconds later.  After a slap-shot by Tom Wilson was stopped by Domingue, well at least he thought he stopped it, Mike Richards found the loose puck and buried it for his first goal as a Washington Capital.  It was a special moment for Richards as the fans at the phonebooth gave him a standing ovation for a couple minutes.

This game will mark the 300th consecutive sellout at Verizon Center.  The streak dates back to the 2008-2009 season.  With the excitement hockey has brought to the area and the success of the Capitals, games at Verizon Center have become the hottest ticket in town.  It is no doubt they have successfully built “America’s Hockey Capital.”

Conference Standings:
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Network Information:
If you can’t make it to Verizon Center you can catch the game on CSN+.  Puck Drop is at 7 p.m.

By Michael Marzzacco

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His passion for the Caps has grown over the decades, which has included time as a season ticket holder, social media and community organizer, and most recently led to the founding of NoVa Caps in 2014. Jon earned a Bachelor's of Science in Engineering at Old Dominion University, and is a Systems Engineer during intermissions, which has been instrumental in supporting his Capitals habit.
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