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Posted at 3:49 PM ET, 12/28/2010

Victory against Montreal Canadiens could go a long way for Caps

By Lindsay Applebaum

(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)


While a victory over the Montreal Canadiens tonight wouldn't come close to avenging last spring's heartbreaking, seven-game defeat, it's safe to say the Capitals would still get some extra satisfaction out of beating their most recent postseason foe.

"It's gonna be a big game for us mentally," captain Alex Ovechkin said after the morning skate. "Last year we lost to them in the playoffs. We know how to play against these guys; we've played too many games against them" in 2010.

Montreal will be a good test for Washington's altered gameplan, Coach Bruce Boudreau said, because the Capitals' roster hasn't changed much since their first-round loss to the Canadiens in April.

"We didn't make a lot of changes in the summer, and as far as confidence goes, we had a miserable summer, thanks to you guys [the Canadiens]," Boudreau said. "That's in the back of our minds, obviously. ...

"If this were a week ago, our confidence would have been as low as you can possibly get it, but I think [the players] are starting to come out of it that way because they've had the success of winning a couple games."

Here's some video from this morning's skate (via capitals.nhl.com):

By Lindsay Applebaum  | December 28, 2010; 3:49 PM ET
Categories:  Montreal Canadiens  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Keith Aucoin glad to be back in Washington
Next: Tonight's lineup: Canadiens at Caps

Comments

play to win...don't play to "not lose" and they will be fine.

Posted by: capscoach | December 28, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Well it doesn't sound like this will be a "trap" game for us. I've certainly thought the guys could be looking beyond this and just waiting for the WC etc but they sound fairly focused. Guess we'll find out come game time.

Would love to see some of the "young guns" get back to burying biscuits.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | December 28, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Go, Caps!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | December 28, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

@pokerface1208

I think it would've been a trap game if it was almost any team besides playing Montreal for the first time this year. After last year's playoffs, you know the Caps players are looking forward to playing Montreal for the first time. Especially Ovie, who loves to play Montreal anyways.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 28, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

The Habs acquired James Wisniewski for a 2nd round pick and a conditional 5th. Interesting.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 28, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Go Caps! Time to turn the NY Yankees of Hockey into "Hab-nots"...

I would especially like to see Ovie get his groove back with one of those impossible, bizarro, "WTF?!?", "how-in-the-#311-did-he-just-do-that?!?!" kind of goal.


Vengeance Tonight, boys!

Posted by: Rhino40 | December 28, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

So the roster freeze is over! LOL!

Good move by Montreal. I wouldn't be surprised to see move body's shipped off the Island for younger/cheaper assets. Sad what's happened to that franchise.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | December 28, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

@pokerface1208

I agree about the Isles. For some reason, I see Matt Moulson ending up on the Pens before the trade deadline. He isn't that expensive and wouldn't cost the Pens too much in terms of assets. He is a pending UFA, and the Isles supposedly are not going to pony up the money to re-sign him either.

He would be a good acquisition for the Pens and a likely winger for Crosby.

I have not read or heard anything that substantiates this idea, but for some reason it makes a lot of sense and seems like the kind of move the Pens would make.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 28, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I have a feeling that the CAPS will have a big offensive night. They need goals from Semin, Ovie and Backstrom to get them all going for the classic.

Posted by: Caps4Life1 | December 28, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Yes - interesting to see Boudreau's revamped "altered gameplan" which consists of line shuffling and then when the going get's tough - revert to OV/Backstrom/Semin and abandon your third/fourth lines.

We also have to worry about the hot goalie - now named Carey Price.

Finally - I had to laugh when Sutter was removed or "stepped down" from GM duties after 8 years of limited success in Calgary which included one cup run in 2004. McPhail has been here for 12+ and has no play-off success in the past ten years, but you'd think he was some genius as all Caps failures are the fault of a hot goalie or some extenuating circumstance vs. his.

Posted by: Jaymagz | December 28, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

@Jaymagz

I guess you are not taking into effect Calgary's current situation.

They are 14th in their conference.

They have their hands tied in terms of the salary cap as they already have over $56M worth of contracts signed for next year. So they have almost no flexibility in terms of roster management.

Their roster is old as their best "young" players are all 27 or older(with Mikael Backlund as the only exception).

There farm system is considered bare and they only have 1 pick in the top 100 in the upcoming draft.

But yeah, that situation is almost identical to the Caps current situation. Well, except for about everything.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 28, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Eakin just had a dirty high-glove snipe against the Czechs. He's lookin good

Posted by: chrisclarksucks | December 28, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Victory against Montreal Canadiens could go a long way for Caps
-----------------------

I don't get it, I thought they had already concluded that it was Halak who single-handedly beat'em in the playoffs.

And they've already beaten Halak earlier this year so why could a win against the Halak-less Habs go a long way for this team?

Posted by: joek443 | December 28, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I think its more about getting two points,getting into a groove, and getting a bad taste out of their mouths from last season.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | December 28, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

With the amount of injuries and players moving in and out of the lineup these past few weeks, I really just want to see 1st...the top line start to play like a top line and 2nd, solid defesive play.

Caps have to buy into the new system even if it means we lose some more games during the learning curve.

Posted by: capscoach | December 28, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

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