Well as the sun rose this morning, your Montreal Canadiens are currently in eight place, in the Eastern Conference, thanks to a win by the hated Boston Bruins to take over the Northeast Division.
The Canadiens have now banked 36 games, and teetering on mid-season playoff futility. Concerned? Worried? Too early to panic, in my opinion with eight points separating the top-8, but tonight's matchup against the Washington Capitals will be a test of their mettle.
The Caps have been hot, in terms of ratings on HBO, but on the ice have struggled, going 3-4-3 in their last ten with the fate of coach Bruce Boudreau being waged on at the water machine pools during an eight-game losing streak.
The Caps do have the comfort barrier of the Verizon Center tonight, where they are 13-4-4. Note to Habs fans visiting, avoid the concessions! Trust me!
This will also be the first meeting between the two teams since the Habs upset Washington in last season's playoffs. With the man who essentially handed Alexander Ovechkin and co. the end of their season on a platter off to the St. Louis Blues, this is a must-win game for Carey Price.
Price has a career 2-1-3 record in six starts against the Capitals, with a 3.53 GAA and a .891 SvPct. A win is a definitely needed, for both Price and the Habs to prove that they can beat waht should be an elite NHL team without Jaroslav Halak.
CTV's Arpon Basu made the note on Twitter that Price's SvPct, in his last seven starts, has been a dismal .870. Basu also makes the observation that the statistic doesn't fault Price, and he is absolutely correct. The team as a whole has struggled on this trip, and for that matter most of December, leaving their goaltender out to dry on several occasions.
This seven game road trip has just managed one single win thus far, and ideally a 4-3 record was the reasonably acceptable objective by most experts. To do this, they need to win their next three.
A win, and a strong performance by Price, should be a solid rebound before the team heads off to Florida and the second half of the season.
Roster wise tonight, Josh Gorges and Travis Moen are both game-time decisions for the Canadiens. P.K. Subban is a possible start per HabsInsideOut and could dress as a seventh defenceman.
Worth the read:
The Caps report from Japers Rink
Eric Engels' Ten Habs notes on the team's funk
More Habs and Caps chat from Steven Hindle
Vote for the Habs in comic form: Stan Lee, creator of Marvel Comics, is issuing a new series of NHL based heroes with the unveiling to come at the end of January. Fans can vote as to which hero will be unveiled first. Also stay with HabsEyesOnThePrize as we will be offering a limited edition poster for the Guardian30 project.
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