Game #62

Canadiens vs. Washington

Verizon Center  – Feb. 24/2012 – 7:05pm


Game Notes –

……. The Capitals have shut the Canadiens out in three straight meetings and four  of the past six while using three  different goaltenders.  Washington is 5-0-1 in those games.

…..The Canadiens have lost four of five and have totaled one goal in the last two games.  Had they been able to win those home games against the Devils and Stars they would be one  point behind the Capitals and four shy of a playoff berth.   Now their unlikely task is to pass seven teams to reach eighth place.  According to oddsmakers, chances of that happening are below 5%.

…..The Canadiens  have allowed the first goal in each of their last five games.  In their last four home games,in  the first period their opposition has outshot them 53-19.  They trailed 1-0 at the end of the first period in each of those games.

…..The Canadiens are looking for their fourth straight road victory following wins in Buffalo, Toronto and Long Island.

……The Capitals have lost three straight  and five of six and  are 3-7-2 over the last 12.   Their No. 1 goaltender Tomas Vokoun has been pulled in two straight games.  The team scored only four goals during a four-game road trip, and two of them  came in the 5-2 loss in Ottawa Wednesday after they trailed 4-0.

…..Heading into back-to-back games this weekend, first at home against Montreal and then in Toronto Saturday, the Capitals are in 10th place with 63 points. They trail Southeast-leading Winnipeg by four points and are three points behind eighth-place Florida.

…..The Canadiens won’t have to deal with Alexander Ovechkin.   He will miss his second straight game.  It’s believed Ovechkin suffered an injury to his left leg at Carolina on Feb. 20th on  a Bryan Allen hip check eight minutes into the second period.  Ovechkin was   limping after the game and  his time-on-ice was second-lowest of the season (15:43).

…… Washington’s goaltending has been shaky of late, with Tomas Vokoun getting pulled in each of the last two games. He allowed two goals on seven shots against Carolina on Monday and four goals on 11 shots against Ottawa.  Washington starting goaltenders have failed to finish their game eight times this season.  Vokoun has been pulled six times.

……Carey Price will be making his tenth straight start, a season high.

…… The Capitals haven’t given up a goal to the Canadiens since the 3:28 mark of the second period of a 4-2 Washington victory March 15, a streak of three straight shutouts and 216 minutes and 32 seconds.

……Six of Washington’s  next seven games are at home, where the Capitals have a 19-8-2 record.

……The Capitals are 22-26-5 since a 7-0-0 start, which puts them on pace for 75.8  points for 82 games.  The last four seasons they’ve averaged 107 points.

……Capitals coach Dale Hunter made Roman Hamrlik a healthy scratch in Ottawa because of what he called “untimely penalties”, specifically an  elbowing minor he received early against Carolina on Feb. 20 that led to a goal against.  Hamrlik has been called for only three penalties in the past six games and ranks third on the team in minors with 15.

The Cold Hard Stats –

Season RecordCanadiens – 61GP (24-27-10) 58 pts.  Last in Eastern Conference.   Washington – 60GP (29-26-5) 63pts.  Tenth in Eastern Conference

Last Ten Games – Montreal 5-4-1; Washington 3-6-1

Season Series  Third of four meetings.        Jan. 18 @ Bell Centre  Washington-3 Canadiens-0.    Washington scores two goals on first four shots of the game.  Michal Neuvirth with the shutout.  Shots 21-16 for Washington.  Mathieu Perreault, Marcus Johansson and Alexander Ovechkin with the goals.     Feb.4 @Bell Centre – Washington-3 Canadiens-0.  Tomas Vokoun stopped 30 shots for the shutout.   Dennis Wideman, Troy Brouwer, Marcus Hendricks and Alexander Semin on a penalty shot.  Peter Budaj stopped 20 of 23 shots.  The Canadiens third straight loss after the All-star break.

Home/Road – Canadiens on the Road (13-13-2)    Washington at Home (19-8-2)

Special Teams – Power PlayCanadiens ranked 29th   13.8% (31/224)    Washington – ranked 14th – 17.6% (34/193)    Penalty Killing – Canadiens ranked first = 89.1%  (25/229)   Washington ranked 24th – 80.1% (42/211)

Goaltending – Canadiens – Carey Price – 53GP (22-22-9)  2.39GAA   .916save%.    Washington – Michal Neuvirth – 23GP (17 starts) (6-9-3) 3.01GAA   .897save%.    Tomas Vokoun – 44 starts (23-16-2)  2.52GAA   .917save%.

Who’s Hot –     Canadiens – Max Pacioretty – six goals in the past seven games.     Washington – Michal Neuvirth has finished the last two games for Washington.   In those relief appearances he  stopped 44 of 47 shots.

The Missing – Canadiens –  C-Tomas Plekanec (questionable -flue virus);  LW-Mathieu Darche (questionable -dizziness); C=Brian Gionta (IR-biceps surgery); D-Andrei Markov (IR-arthroscopic knee surgery).;  LW- Travis Moen (IR-neck); RW-Michael Blunden (IR-arthroscopic knee surgery); C-Petteri Nokelainen (IR-ribs)        Washington – C-Nicklas Backstrom  (IR-concussion);  LW-Alex Ovechkin  (lower-body); D-Tom Poti (IR-strained groin)