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Posted at 7:00 PM ET, 12/28/2010

Open thread: Capitals vs. Canadiens

By Washington Post Sports Editors

The Washington Capitals (21-12-5) hope to stay on course and continue to improve after snapping an eight-game skid on Dec. 19, but there's another motivating factor tonight at Verizon Center: The Montreal Canadiens (20-14-2) are in town, and the Caps wouldn't mind collecting two points against the team that unceremoniously knocked them out of the first round of the playoffs last spring.

Tonight's Caps lineup will appear below this post shortly before the 7 p.m. faceoff at Verizon Center.

TV: CSN, NHLN; Radio: 820, 1500 AM.

Click here for a live game summary.

By Washington Post Sports Editors  | December 28, 2010; 7:00 PM ET
Categories:  Montreal Canadiens  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Tonight's lineup: Canadiens at Caps
Next: Capitals among teams being considered to start 2011-12 season overseas

Comments

This game is a huge test for BB's supposedly revamped system to see how well they played against the team that showed the NHL how to stimy the Caps

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | December 28, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Not sure I like the 55/4 pairing but want to see it before I pass judgment. It could end up being a good shutdown pair with 55's shot blocking and 4's physical nature but just seeing it seems like a very slow pairing.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 28, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Is Poti on the IR? He is not listed on the nhl.com game roster or as a scratch.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 28, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Time for the team I abandoned(Craps) to lose in epic fashsion once again. Wisniewski will probably accrue at least one point today.

Posted by: slurpeesarecool | December 28, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

@slurpeesarecool would be hard to do considering he isn't playing tonight.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 28, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

@icehammer97

I also have worries about the lack of speed in a 4/55 defensive pairing. But we will see. It is good to see Schulz back though.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 28, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Good PK. We need to stay out of the box.

Posted by: sca187 | December 28, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

@slurpeesarecool:

Never never never root for the Caps to lose on this board!

Putz.

Posted by: Rhino40 | December 28, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Also good to see BB keeping Green/Hannan together for another game. We need some consistency as far as lines go. And we need to play with more of an edge. Is that a common theme or what?

Posted by: sca187 | December 28, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

That looked like the old Ovie without the finish.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 28, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

That goal was dirty by Beagle.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 28, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

What a sweet goal! Beeegs!

Posted by: sca187 | December 28, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see some of the Hershey guys get some PP time here. They just seem to want it more right now.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 28, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Send him back to hershey...

Posted by: chatton | December 28, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

That dog will hunt! what a great goal.

Posted by: SFcapsfan | December 28, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

The Hershey guys came to play. Seems like the caps get a lot of washed out goals.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | December 28, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Ref needs to get off his knees, he's blowing the game.

Posted by: chatton | December 28, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Green is having the best week of this season.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 28, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Ah, 2-0. Let's hope that 8 game losing streak does indeed turn out to be the best thing for this team.

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | December 28, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Seeing the baby bears contributing warms my heart. Who stays and who goes when everyone is healthy? Or are they auditioning to be traded for a vet 2C? Decisions, decisions.

Posted by: nicety251 | December 28, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

@slurpeesarecool

Glad you abandoned the Caps when "fashsion"able.

VERY good first period! LET'S GO CAPS!

Posted by: caps_fan | December 28, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Stamkos just scored his 13th PPG of the season, his 29th overall.

Ovi has what, 2 PPGs so far this season?? That's really pathetic considering the fact that nobody in the NHL gets more PP icetime than he does.

Posted by: joek443 | December 28, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

@joek443 actually he is 4th in PP ice time per game. Which is a lot but is not the most of any player he is behind Malkin, Crosby, and Richards.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 28, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

that powerplay was the laziest thing ive ever seen from the 1line guys

Posted by: chatton | December 28, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Varly looks like he wants revenge against the Habs and to play in the classic.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 28, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

@icehammer

Everyone wants revenge.

Posted by: nicety251 | December 28, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

This second unit looks 10 times better than the first unit who has done nothing on the PP all night, heck all year... but you won't see any icetime increase for the second unit, that's BB being BB.

Posted by: joek443 | December 28, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

BB needs to help Ovi simplify his game, almost make him a catch & shoot guy in basketball... a lot less handling of the puck and more skating up and down his wing position and driving to the net.

Posted by: joek443 | December 28, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

joek that might help but Ovie has always been best when he is creative. I think the biggest thing is he has to get off the point on the PP. He needs to be on the half wall Stamkos style. If nothing else the other team's PK will shade to his side and make the other side more open.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 28, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Ovie is getting plenty of good luck on the PP's during the second period but seems to have lost is scoring touch. These are looks he normally would bury in close. Another lazy penalty on Semin after not being able to score on the PP. Bad way to break the Caps good momentum.

Posted by: wizfan89 | December 28, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

The worst part about the Semin hooks is they are normally in the O or neutral zone and never actually stop the guy anyway.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 28, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Would be great to have the Caps break Crosby's streak at the Classic.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 28, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

I would feel ecstatic over how well the Caps have been playing in the last few games if it wasn't that the star players are not scoring. They cannot make it far without them, unless one of the Hershey boys or the blueliners turns into an Ovechkin. Maybe they are starting to get back to their old selves (with Ovie scoring last time & Green having scored twice). But I am not sure. Has anyone known of any star player of the past go through a slump as long as Ovechkin? I don't get it. Could he really have run his course already and his glory days are behind him? It would break my heart. Could someone give me some context for gauging this abrupt turnaround in Ovie? But is it Ovie or the front line? How could they all have slumps at the same time?

Posted by: caraveli | December 28, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Come on Caps, let's have a good pp...

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | December 28, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

I hate personal attacks and taking it to the gutter, etc., etc. I'm a fan, that's all.

BUT if I were at the games these days, I swear, I would not be able to keep myself from yelling, "TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT, FATTY!" at BB during the PPs.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | December 28, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

@caraveli. I don't know of actual numbers of droughts but I think the biggest thing is Alex is not at 100%. The last 24/7 they were showing him getting a massage because of a sore leg and there have been many, many times I have seen him flexing his hand on the bench after a shift. He also mentioned his hands hurting on 24/7 as well went talking about the fight. I think he will eventually get healthy and will come back to his usual self.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 28, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

icehammer97, Thanks for your response. I hope you are right and you probably are. But what's up with the entire top line having a drought? What especially kills me is Crosby on the hottest streak of his life. I have faith that we will come back better than ever but I am in somewhat of an agony still, though we are doing so much better.

Posted by: caraveli | December 28, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

OV cannot be at full strength. He just doesn't look anything like he used to. Maybe he needs a week or two off? Maybe after the Crysby love-fest he will get a rest... He's too determined to "slow down" for any of the regular season. It's the only thing I can think of.

Oh, and get him off the point on the PP and put him on the half-wall. Put John Carlson on the point...

GO CAPS!!!!!

Posted by: sca187 | December 28, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Backie looks tentative as well and has for about 2 months. WTF is up with that? Maybe both him and OV are injured?

I must say though that we are playing better D than we did last year. A change in style? We need more grit for the playoffs...

Where TF is cstanton?

Posted by: sca187 | December 28, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

@caraveli. I think part of it is necessity with Crosby. He now has 32 goals, the next highest on his team has 13 and Kunitz scored today to make it 3 Pens with double digit goals. If Crosby wasn't playing out of his mind the Pens would be struggling to make the playoffs right now. Even with Ovechkin and the top line playing poorly our lower guys are covering, the Pens just don't have that right now and it was even worse last week before Malkin came back and Crosby was the only one playing who had more then 10 goals.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 28, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Chimera looks like Todd Krygier sometimes... Almost too fast for his own good. Definitely too fast for his skills. His speed helps us as a team though... I'd like to see him get p*ssed off more.

Posted by: sca187 | December 28, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

We are most definitely playing better D than ever. Also we do things we didn't do before like pressure the opponent's net, have much better puck possession, get more secondary scoring from the blue line etc. Now if we get our offensive strength back, we would be serious Cup contenders and BB would be considered a genius.

Posted by: caraveli | December 28, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

He can hit the empty net!

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 28, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Yay! My boy scored. I don't care if it was the empty net. And my other favorite, Varly had a shut out. What could be better?

Posted by: caraveli | December 28, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Nice... a SHO to go into the New Year. Very nice defensive game and good goaltending. Textbook defensive game. Where TF has this been? GOOD JOB CAPS!!!

Posted by: sca187 | December 28, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

9 of 10 possible points heading into the Classic, can't ask for much more then that.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 28, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

3-0 on the Habs - how sweet!

Posted by: charley42 | December 28, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Tominsocal, cstanton... Where are you guys? It's not the same without your commentary...

Posted by: sca187 | December 28, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

I thought Eric Fehr was the best player on the ice today. He had some great chances, made some plays, even got his nose dirty in a dust up after the whistle.

The 3rd and 4th lines were the difference in the game today. It seemed like they played the whole game in Montreal's zone.

Posted by: SFcapsfan | December 28, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

I thought Eric Fehr was the best player on the ice today. He had some great chances, made some plays, even got his nose dirty in a dust up after the whistle.

The 3rd and 4th lines were the difference in the game today. It seemed like they played the whole game in Montreal's zone.

Posted by: SFcapsfan

I agree, Fehr was awesome tonight.

I have also been impressed by Jay Beagle. Not because of the goal tonight, which was great, but his overall game the past few games. He has been physical, has shown good speed, and has shown decent skill too in shooting and passing. In addition, he has been very solid defensively in the neutral zone and the defensive zone. He has also forechecked very well.

For all the noise on here about AGordon, Beagle is looking like a much better 3rd line(or 4th line) player. This isn't meant to slight AGordon, who has been decent. But Beagle has just been better so far.

Also, for all the whining about BB and the Caps system, that defensive system and play in the neutral zone looked great tonight and has looked solid over the past few games. I think the Caps have allowed 2 goals or less in six of their last 7 games, with the only exception being a 3 goal game(the one to Boston). That's very good.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 28, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm curious to see who the Caps play in the Winter Classic. My guess would be(assuming MP and MJ are healthy enough to play):

Ovie/Backstrom/Knuble
Laich/MP/Semin
Chimera/MJ/Fehr
Hendricks/Steckel/Beagle

I guess you could switch up the 3rd and 4th lines and do:

Chimera/Beagle/Fehr
Steckel/MJ/Hendricks(with Steckel taking the draws)

This would be done to keep the Chimera/Beagle/Fehr line together.

Aucoin will be sent down and I think AGordon will be the one who sits. IMO, Beagle has earned the right to play in the Winter Classic.

Varly will be the goaltender, barring him pulling a groin between now and then(which is possible with him).

The D will likely be the same as tonight:

Hannan/Green
Alzner/Carlson
Erskine/Schulz

Posted by: sgm3 | December 28, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

McPhail : we finally found our defenseman: Scott Hannan - LOL!

Posted by: Jaymagz | December 28, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

After the game, Fehr called Chimera and Beagle "2 of the best Hound Dogs" he ever played with.

Do I hear a possible nickname for that Line?

The Hound Dogs. I like it.

Posted by: jmurray019 | December 28, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

We just got back from the game and I anxiously jumped on the board to read slurpeesarecool's well thought out post game analysis. I get the feeling he won't be providing any. Sorry, slurpeesarecool, grab one of those tissue paper napkins from the 7-11 and dry your tears. Waahhhh.

Posted by: AADCDERM | December 28, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

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