On a night when Washington saluted former Capitals’ feisty scoring star Dino Ciccarelli, the Caps looked like they wanted to start where Dino left off 19 years ago. Washington came out with blazing hot sticks, shooting the puck and crashing the net. The defense was jumping into the action, and the Caps looked like the explosive offensive team of last season. Unfortunately, the Montreal Canadiens looked like the team that eliminated the Caps from the playoffs last year, too. The combination of suffocating defense and opportunistic offense paid off again for the Canadiens. Continue reading →
It was just a game. In December. And for the Caps, it was a good one.
Washington continued its climb out of its November/December funk, claiming a 3-0 victory over Montreal at Verizon Center on Tuesday night. Semyon Varlamov picked up his sixth win, and second shutout, of the year with 25 saves while out-dueling Carey Price and setting the tone for what turned out to be a solid defensive effort for Washington.
“No, not really. We wanted to beat Montreal because they play Tampa next,” coach Bruce Boudreau said when asked if beating Les Habitantes made the win more special. “We figure if we can beat them then all of a sudden they go down there and are more desperate and hopefully come up with a good couple of games in Florida. No, because if we are sitting here in April and we play whatever team and we don’t have success, it is going to mean nothing and you guys [the press] are going to be all over us again.”
The fan base of the Montreal Canadiens, the opening round foe for our beloved Capitals, has gained a little infamy in recent playoff memory: a vocal minority has been heard at games hosted in the Bell Centre booing the Star Spangled Banner when played before the puck drops.
There are two options here now that the series has returned to D.C. with the Caps just one win away from the next round. Some misguided folks may think it’s appropriate to mirror the response during the Canadian national anthem. However, this wouldn’t exactly be a great mark on the District, and a completely childish way to act. Please note that the better option is a heck of a lot classier, and Russian Machine Never Breaks is hopeful that we’ll get it right:
I have a feeling the Caps fans in attendance on Friday will do the right thing. They might even follow the example of the much-loathed Boston Bruins fans, who faced the exact same situation a few years ago.
So go this evening and Rock the Red. Cheer the Caps to a series win as loud as you can. Just remember that your friends here at We Love DC ask that you do so with class, especially during “O, Canada.”
After what seemed like weeks of waiting – ever since the Olympics were over, really – the Washington Capitals finally enter the NHL postseason. First opponent in the opening salvos of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals?
The Montreal Canadiens.
The Caps desperately want to get the right skate forward this year; after last year’s rough start dropping the first two games at home against the Rangers, it’s something the team is aching to move past. And by all accounts from various team sources the last couple of days, they’re not only aware of it, they’re chomping at the bit to roll.
Despite the Habs’ recent struggles, however, the Caps cannot enter the series tomorrow taking Montreal for granted. True, the Habs enter the postseason after only notching three wins in their final 11 games. And true, forward Michael Cammalleri hasn’t been nearly as effective in his first nine games after knee surgery, nor has the netminder situation been anything spectacular. No team enters the NHL’s “second season” not wanting the prize at the end of the two-month campaign.
Let’s not kid around – both of these teams want the Stanley Cup. Montreal, to start its next century off right after last year’s dismal failure to celebrate their 100 years in style. Washington, to finally grab the golden ring of hockey that has been oh-so-close only a handful of times in its young (relative to Montreal) hockey existence.
So let’s look over the keys to Round One, starting here in the District on Thursday at 7 p.m.