There are 5 games left and 13 days until the playoffs begin. The Habs can end up in a number of positions at this point: atop the Conference, atop the division but 2nd in the Conference, or 2nd in the Division and 3rd in the Conference. While this time of year distracts many hockey fans as they look at all possible playoff match-ups, tonight's contest between the Habs and Caps is also a chance to see the two most likely candidates for the Hart Trophy go head to head.
That's right - Ovechkin versus
Crosby Carey. Both players have been breaking team records, or are a hairline away from breaking long-standing records that have remained supreme for decades. Carey Price will get another chance tonight to tie the franchise record for most wins in a regular season (42), currently shared by Jacques Plante (1955-56, 1961,62) and Ken Dryden (1975-76). Alexander Ovechkin scored his 50th goal of the season for the 6th time in his career, something only Guy Lafleur, Mike Bossy, Marcel Dionne, Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky have accomplished. (The record for most 50 goal seasons is shared by Mike Bossy and Wayne Gretzky with 9).
Individual accomplishments being something a lot of players think of as they create their legacies, the one all players dream of most is winning a Stanley Cup. The Capitals find themselves in a surprising position where they may be able to walk out of the regular season with 2nd in the Metropolitan Division, and with home-ice advantage in at least the first round. The Habs have almost guaranteed home-ice advantage in the first round, and with these last 5 games have the opportunity to exercise some demons that coach Michel Therrien identified after Monday's loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, and perhaps end the season atop the Atlantic Division or Eastern Conference entirely.
The puck drops at 7:30 PM EST. Devante Smith-Pelly will be back in the lineup tonight, and Brian Flynn will be out. Also, a little bit ahead of schedule, Tom Gilbert is back on defense after missing 4 games with a broken jaw, and will be wearing a clear jaw protector until the injury is fully healed.
In Canada Canadiens (French): RDS
|David Desharnais||P.A. Parenteau|
|Alex Galchenyuk||Tomas Plekanec||Brendan Gallagher|
|Brandon Prust||Lars Eller||Dale Weise|
|Jacob de la Rose||Torrey Mitchell||Devante Smith-Pelly|
|Andrei Markov||P.K. Subban|
|Alexei Emelin||Jeff Petry|
|Nathan Beaulieu||Tom Gilbert|
Scratched: Mike Weaver, Sergei Gonchar, Manny Malholtra, Brian Flynn
Injuries: Tom Gilbert (upper body)
|Alex Ovechkin||Evgeny Kuznetsov||Joel Ward|
|Marcus Johansson||Nicklas Backstrom||Troy Brouwer|
|Brooks Laich||Eric Fehr||Jason Chimera|
|Curtis Glencross||Michael Latta||Tom Wilson|
|Brooks Orpik||John Carlson|
|Karl Alzner||Matt Niskanen|
|Tim Gleason||Mike Green|
Injuries: Jay Beagle (shoulder), John Erskine (neck surgery)
Check out the enemy over at Jasper's Rink.