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While hosting the Washington Capitals the Montreal Canadiens will attempt to match their season high winning streak of five games, a mark they set in early November. The Capitals come into Montreal on a tear of their own as they have won consecutive games against the Eastern Conference’s second best team the Carolina Hurricanes. Although the Capitals out scored the Hurricanes eight to two in those games the wins came courtesy of some stellar goaltending as the Capitals were out shot eighty four to forty nine.


The Canadiens are currently in a three way tie with the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New Jersey Devils for the sixth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. All three teams have recorded 81 points in 72 games. Trailing these three teams by just five points are the Atlanta Thrashes, the Thrashers have won eight of their last eleven games. Just behind the Thrashers are the scorching hot Florida Panthers who have won seven straight and have just a single loss in their last eleven games. The Habs have control of their destiny and with a difficult April schedule upcoming the Habs need to compile as many victories as possible against the lesser lights of the Eastern Conference such as the Capitals and Bruins who are looking to play spoiler for many of the playoff hopefuls ahead of them in the standings.


The Capitals currently lead the season series with the Canadiens two to one. Washington won the first two games by a six goal margin. Ten days ago however the Canadiens exploded scoring three goals in just a little over two minutes in the second period en route to a 4-2 victory over the Capitals


Fresh of his sixth shutout of the season Cristobal Huet is expected to be in goal for the Canadiens. It is still unknown who will be in goal for the Capitals as Brent Johnson may be tired after making forty nine saves just last night in Carolina. If Johnson is unavailable veteran net minder Olaf Kolzig will get the nod from head coach Geln Hanlon.


Alexander Ovechkin who is without a doubt the runaway leader for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year is just two goals shy of fifty on the season and just eight points below one hundred for his rookie campaign.  In three games versus the Canadiens this season Ovechkin has scored twice, recorded a +1 rating and fourteen shots on goal.



Scoreboard Watching


There are two crucial games the Canadiens will keep a close eye on this evening. The New Jersey Devils will be playing host to the slumping Buffalo Sabers who have lost seven of their last eight games. The other game influencing the Canadiens playoff hopes will be the first of three meetings between the Thrashers and the Lightning over the next two weeks. The Canadiens will be rooting for one of those two teams to sweep all three games in regulation time.




Fun Facts


1.       Alexander Ovechkin will look match his career best eight game point streak tonight. He has already met this mark on two occasions in his young career.

2.       Four Habs will look to extend their current four game point streaks. Those players are Radek Bonk, Michael Ryder, Chris Higgins & Saku Koivu.

3.       Alexander Ovechkin is the only rookie with more goals than Chris Higgins since the Olympic break.