Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Gameday: vs. Montreal, Feb. 24

I can has two points?
The Washington Capitals will welcome the Montreal Canadiens to Verizon Center on Friday night as they look to break their recent string of humbling losses.  Washington, losers of three in a row, are 3-6-1 in their last ten and 29-26-5 overall for 63 standings points in 60 games. Therefore, they are third in the Southeast Division, four points behind the Jets with three games in hand, and tenth in the Eastern Conference, three points behind the Panthers with one fewer game played.  The Habs, who were shut out by Dallas in their last contest, are actually 5-4-1 in their last ten games but 24-27-10 overall for 58 standings points in 61 games.  Those 58 points place them last in both the Northeast Division and the Eastern Conference.  This is the third of four meetings between these two clubs this year; the Caps have won both by 3-0 shutout scores inside the Bell Centre.

Carey Price, Montreal's workhorse, will start in goal fro Randy Cunneyworth. Price, who has blossomed into one of the league's best goaltenders despite being on a poor team, is 22-22-9 on the year with a 2.39 GAA, .916 save percentage, and four shutouts.  He has only faced the Caps once this year, allowing three goals on 16 shots in a loss in mid January.  Outside the crease, the Habs have been decimated by injuries this year.  They are currently missing star defenseman Andrei Markov (knee surgery complications), captain Brian Gionta (torn pectoral), forwards Mathieu Darche and Travis Moen (upper body), and center Petteri Nokelainen (shoulder).  Other than that, thought, they're totally healthy.

Michal Neuvirth seems the likely choice to start in goal for Dale Hunter following his solid performance in relief of Tomas Vokoun on Wednesday evening.  The sophomore Czech goalie is 6-9-3 on the year with a 3.01 GAA, .897 save percentage, and two shutouts; he shut out the Canadiens the other time he faced them this year.  On the injury front, the Caps are without Nicklas Backstrom, who has missed almost seven weeks now with a concussion and is on IR.  Captain Alex Ovechkin, who has skated for a total of 23 minutes in the last two days, is questionable for the contest.  Keith Aucoin will play if Ovechkin cannot go.  John Erskine and Roman Hamrlik will probably be the healthy scratches on the back end, particularly now that Hamrlik and Dale Hunter are sparring in the media.

Puck drops 7:08-ish.

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