Canadiens vs. Washington
Verizon Center – October 9, 2014 – 7:05pm
For the Record – The Canadiens won their season opener for the first time in five years when they edged Toronto 4-3 Wednesday night. The last time they won their first two games of the season was also October 2009 when they beat Toronto and Buffalo on the road. Both of those games were decided in overtime. TheCanadiens then followed that with five straight losses.
Last Season – In three games Tthe Canadiens were 1-1-1 vs. Washington.
The Last Meeting – Washington shutout the Canadiens 5-0 at the Bell Centre January 25th. Peter Budaj gave up four second period goals before being replaced by Carey Price for the third period. First star Alex Ovechkin 1 goal 1 assist. Holtby stopped all 21 shots.
From the Clinic – Canadiens – injury free. Capitals – D-Mike Green (upper body); D-Dmitry Orlov (IR-broken wrist); RW-Jay Beagle (IR-upper body); LW-Aaron Volpatti (IR-neck); RW-Tom Wilson (IR-broken fibula)
Massive Changes in Washington
GM George McPhee fired after 17 years. Brian MacLellan promoted to GM from Personnel department
Adam Oates fired as head coach replaced by Barry Trotz. GM George McPhee fired after 17 years.
Free agents D-Matt Niskanen signed through 2021; D-Brooks Orpik through 2019. Also signed Chris Connor, Kris Newbury and Tim Kennedy. Justin Peters (Hurricanes) signed as backup goaltender
Leaving were free agents Mikhail Grabovski and Jaroslav Halak (both to Islanders) and Joel Rechlicz (to Minnesota)
….The Capitals are celebrating their 40th anniversary since joining the NHL. They joined the NHL for the ’74-’75 season along with the Kansas City Scouts. Capitals legends Peter Bondra, Sylvain Cote, Rod Langway and Craig Laughlin will participate in a ceremonial puck drop prior to the game. Both Langway and Laughlin started their NHL careers with the Canadiens and were part of the same blockbuster trade that brought Ryan Walter and Rick Green to Montreal.
…..This is the first time Washington has opened it’s season against Montreal.
…..Washington has taken the season series from Montreal in each of the last six seasons (16-4-2 in 22 games) outscoring the Habs 70-43.
….This will be the second of four games in six nights for the Canadiens.
….Dustin Tokarski is expected to get the start for the Canadiens in the second of back-to-back games. He has never started against Washington. In 10 career regular-season appearances, Tokarski is 3-3-1 with a 2.93 GAA and .902SV%
….The only other change from the opening night roster – Travis Moen replaces Dale Weise at right wing on the fourth line with Manny Malhotra & Brandon Prust.
….Carey Price has not started a game against the Capitals in two years although he finished the January 25th 5-0 loss at the Bell Centre. Peter Budaj started all three games last season. Price is 4-9-3 with a 3.24 GAA and an .894 save pct. against the Capitals.
…. Braden Holtby has been named #1 Capitals goaltender. He has never started more than 45 games in previous years. Neuvirth and Halak now gone.
….Holtby is undefeated in five career starts against the Canadiens. (5-0-0. .964 save% 0.99GAA Two shutouts) He played the last half of the Capitals 2-0 shutout exhibition win over the Canadiens at the Bell Centre Septembrer 28th stopping all 11 shots he faced. Holtby was named first star in his last start against the Canadiens in Washington stopping 35 of 37 shots in a 3-2 shootout win November 29th.
…. Holtby has posted a 46-27-5 record over the last two seasons. Their other goaltenders are a combined for 19-21-12 over the same span. Holtby has won 59 percent of his decisions while the rest of the Capitals’ goaltenders have won 36.5%. Holtby and Jose Theodore are the only two goaltenders in Caps history ( with 20 or more wins) to win more than half of their Capitals starts.
….Alex Ovechkin has been shifted back to left wing by new coach Barry Trotz.
….Ovechkin has 36 points – 20 goals and 16 assists in 33 regular season games against the Canadiens. Three of his league leading season total of 51 goals were scored on the Canadiens.
….Nicklas Backstrom has 18 points in 22 games against the Habs (6g – 12assists)
….Capitals lineup includes two rookie centers – Andre Burakovsky and Evgeny Kuznetsov. The Capitals are hoping that Burakovsky can replace Mikhail Grabvsky who left via free agency to join the New York Islanders.
….Washington defenseman Matt Green will not play against the Canadiens. He has not played since taking a hit against the Bruins in the second game of the preseason on Sept. 26
The Capitals Lineup
8-Alex Ovechkin 19-Nicklas Backstrom 16-Eric Fehr
90-Marcus Johansson 65-Andre Burakovsky 20-Troy Brouwer
25-Jason Chimera 21-Brooks Laich 42-Joel Ward
87-Liam O’Brien 92-Evgeni Kuznetsov 62-Chris Brown
2-Matt Niskanen 27-Karl Alsner
74-John Carlson 44-Brooks Orpik
38-Jack Hillen 88-Nate Schmidt
Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – P.A. Parenteau
Alex Galchenyuk – Tomas Plekanec – Brendan Gallagher
Rene Bourque – Lars Eller – Jiri Sekac
Brandon Prust – Manny Malhotra – Travis Moen
Alexei Emelin – P.K. Subban
Andrei Markov – Tom Gilbert
Nathan Beaulieu – Mike Weaver