Tonight the Capitals will square off with the Canadiens in a bout that will test their mettle, prove their worth, and showcase if the leading vote-getters in the NHL All-star balloting are worthy of their position!
Washington Capitals (12-7-4, last game 5-3 win over Atlanta)
Eastern Conference All-Stars/Montreal Canadiens (12-5-4, last game 3-1 win over Detroit)
The story so far...
Ovechkin fired up the oven on Wednesday night to roast the Thrashers, but will the Capitals and their chocolate-town call-ups rise to the challenge and dispatch the Canadiens? Strong special teams play coupled with an Ovechkin energized crowd will once again be the deciding factor in this game.
Players to watch
WSH: Karl Alzner
King Karl was second on the team in ice time, behind Ovechkin. He was solid and with his first-game nerves shaken off, tonight's game against the Habs will be a true litmus test of the first round draft picks talent. Don't expect any points, but keep an eye on his ice time and if he plays during key situations, such as the penalty kill. If Alzner wants to stay in Washington for a few more games, his best chance to earn the spot is tonight.
MTL: Saku Koivu
The Canadiens point leader, and Captain has thrashed the Capitals for 27 points in 20 games in his career. Leading the Habs in +/- and points, Koivu will be the go-to set-up guy for the Canadiens. While Caps fans eyes should be on Alzner, it's likely you will see Alzner and Koivu face off pitting a skilled veteran against a starry-eyed rookie.
In case you don't know, Saku Koivu is a cancer survivor. His story has made him a hero in Montreal, around the NHL and for anyone fighting cancer. Here's a great video about his fight against the illness.
Whose next? Carey Price?
Tonight is the return of Jose Theodore to his former team. With the acquisition of Theodore this summer, the Capitals have had both former starting goaltenders for the Habs from the past 5 years. (Huet and Theodore).
Alex Ovechkin will get to face-off against his gold medal national team friends tonight. Andrei Markov and Alex Kovalev were both members of Russia's team at the 2008 IIHF finals along with Semin, Ovechkin and Fedorov. And of course, when Ovie is facing his countrymen, he almost always brings his A++ game.
100 years in 10 minutes
Great photo montage set to the music of the Red Hot Chili Peppers showcasing the Canadiens greatest moments in their 100 year history.
And your main event!!!!
Think that NHL enforcer heavyweights Donald Brashear and George Laraque will drop the mittens tonight? I'd put my money on yes. Here is their last bout when Laraque was a Penguin and Brash endured a barrage of punches to land a sick haymaker for the win.
LET'S GO CAPS!