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The Canadiens return home, licking their wounds from a disappointing 5-3 loss to New Jersey last night, with the hope that they will fare better against the Washington Capitals. The Caps are struggling this season, with a 7-12-0 record and the 15th position in the Eastern conference, but have a few good players to watch. Rookie wonder kid Alex Ovechkin has been on fire since his very first NHL game, scoring an outstanding 15 goals and 6 assists in 19 games. If Washington could add a couple of offensive players to compliment him, they could become a dangerous team to face. Goaltender Olie Kolzig, is expected to return from a hamstring injury back on November 8, had the last game off as a precautionary move. Kolzig will likely start tonight’s game. The Capitals are coming off of an embarrassing 8-5 loss in Buffalo Thursday night. The Capitals ice a high number of inexperienced defensemen, and as a result have allowed the most goals against [80] in the league to date.

Jose Theodore was a surprise start last night, due to a groin injury that caused him to miss the last start. It’s arguable that he may have benefited from additional time off. Look for backup goalie Yann Danis to get the start tonight against a weaker Capitals squad. The Habs gave up 2 power play goals in 4 opportunities last night, and scored none with 3 opportunities. Head coach Claude Julien admitted that their special teams were not at their best, while the Devils were, and that was the difference in the game.

For the Canadiens to be successful tonight, they need to get some offence from somewhere other than Koivu’s line. Mike Ribeiro’s line in particular has got to step and help on a more consistent basis. Moving Tomas Plekanec on to Koivu’s line was helpful last night, as he provided a goal and an assist. Head coach Claude Julien moved rookie Alexander Perezhogin down to the 4th line in he second period after starting the game with Koivu. It’s possible Julien will do something to shake up the Ribeiro line if they aren’t contributing offensively tonight. Watch for Perezhogin or Dagenais to see some time with Ribeiro and Ryder.

Projected Lineups:

Montreal Canadiens
Richard Zednik – Saku Koivu – Tomas Plekanec
Chris Higgins – Mike Ribeiro – Michael Ryder
Jan Bulis – Steve Begin – Niklas Sundstrom
Mathieu Dandenault – Pierre Dagenais – Alexander Perezhogin

Sheldon Souray – Mike Komisarek
Andrei Markov – Craig Rivet
Francis Bouillon – Mathieu Dandenault / Mark Streit

Injuries & Scratches: Jose Theodore [G, healthy], Alexei Kovalev [RW, knee, 4-8 weeks], Radek Bonk [C, groin, day-to-day], Maxim Lapierre [F, healthy]

Washington Capitals
Alexander Ovechkin-Jeff Halpern-Brian Willsie
Jakub Klepis-Andrew Cassels-Tomas Fleischmann
Ben Clymer-Brian Sutherby-Matt Bradley
Matt Pettinger-Brooks Laich-Chris Clark

Brendan Witt-Steve Eminger
Ivan Majesky-Shaone Morrisonn
Bryan Muir-Jamie Heward

Injuries & Scratches: Brent Johnson [G, healthy],

Starting Goalies: Montreal-Yann Danis, Washington-Olie Kolzig

Habs Notes: Theodore has a lifetime record of 10-4, with a 2.96 GAA and a .888 SV% against Washington…Who’s Hot: Saku Koivu [3 G, 2 A, 2 Games], Richard Zednik [2 G, 1 A, 2 Games], Mathieu Dandenault [2 A, 2 Games], Craig Rivet [2 G, 2 A, 5 Games], Yann Danis [3 W, 0 L, 4 Games, 1.87 GAA, .933 SvPct]….Who’s Cold: Pierre Dagenais [0 points, 9 Games], Jose Theodore [1 L, 1 T, 2 Games, 4.36 GAA, .833 SV%]

Capitals Notebook: Olie Kolzig has a lifetime record of 6-7, with a 3.78 GAA and a .892 SV% against Montreal…Who’s Hot: Andrew Cassels [1 G, 3 A, 2 Games], Alexander Ovechkin [2 G, 1 A, 2 Games], Brian Sutherby [2 G, 2 A, 3 Games], Jeff Halpern [1 G, 6 A, 6 Games], Brian Willsie [2 A, 2 Games], Ben Clymer [2 G, 1 A, 3 Games], Chris Clark [1 G, 1 A, 2 Games], Matt Bradley [2 G, 3 A, 5 Games]…Who’s Cold: Olie Kolzig [1 W, 1 L, 2 Games, 5.02 GAA, .855 SV%]