Capitals Vs. Canadiens: Preview and TV Schedule


Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

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It’s finally here. It’s Opening Night for the Washington Capitals! Tonight, the Capitals will take on their foes from our neighbor to the north, the Montreal Canadiens. Expectations this year are high and there is a ton of excitement surrounding the Capitals. Most of that excitement revolves around new head coach Barry Trotz, who hopes to lead the Capitals back into the playoffs and to their first ever Stanley Cup.

Last season, the Capitals finished with a 38-30-14 record, good for 90 points. The Canadiens finished with a 46-28-8 record, good for 100 points. The Capitals did not make the playoffs last season, while the Canadiens made it to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Capitals and Canadiens are both quite different this season than they were last season. The Capitals spent a lot of money in free agency, signing defensemen Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik, as well as backup goaltender Justin Peters. The Canadiens didn’t make any huge free agent splashes, but they did add several players, including forward P.A. Parenteau, defenseman Tom Gilbert, and they re-signed playoff hero Dustin Tokarski, who filled in admirably once franchise goalie Carey Price got injured in game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Capitals have an advantage in this game: The Canadiens just played last night, beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3.Look for the Capitals to take advantage of that by starting fast and playing a very physical game. I expect the Capitals to go to captain Alex Ovechkin early and often to try to get off to a fast start. The Capitals will be playing in front of a home crowd and the energy in that arena is going to be off the charts, so getting off to a fast start would be very beneficial and realistic for the Capitals.

That isn’t to say that the Canadiens aren’t an extremely worthy foe. They are a very good team. Their offense last season was mediocre at best, as they were ranked 21st out of 30 in goals scored. With that said, they have Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk, and Parentau, among others, so their offense is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Where the Canadiens dominate is defensively. They were 6th in the NHL in fewest goals allowed last season. Their defense could be even better this year. P.K. Subban is a year older and a year wiser, Gilbert is a nice pickup, and I’m a huge fan of Alexei Emelin. Tokarski is getting the start in goal tonight. While he’s certainly not as good as Price, he’s still very good between the pipes.

Something to watch for tonight: two rookies will be making the Capitals debut tonight. Liam O’Brien was brought in as a non-roster invitee to training camp, and he impressed the Capitals so much that they gave him an entry-level contract. Andre Burakovsky impressed the Capitals to the point where they absolutely had to keep him on the NHL roster. Also, Niskanen and Orpik make their debuts with the Capitals. It will be interesting to hear what kind of reactions those two will get, particularly Orpik.

This is a matchup between two teams that are solid defensively. The Canadiens have a more solid defense, IMO, but the Capitals have a clear advantage when it comes to forwards.

These appear to be your starters tonight:


Ovechkin – Nicklas BackstromEric Fehr
Marcus Johansson – Andre Burakovsky – Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera
Brooks LaichJoel Ward
Liam O’Brien- Evgeny KuznetsovChris Brown

Orpik – John Carlson
Karl Alzner – Niskanen
Jack HillenNate Schmidt

Braden Holtby

Mike Green is officially OUT for tonight’s game due to an upper body injury. Michael Latta and John Erskine are healthy scratches.


Note: This was who played yesterday. I’m guessing that they won’t practice this morning, since most teams don’t do so when they play games on consecutive days.

Pacioretty- David Desharnais – Parenteau
Galchenyuk – Tomas PlekanecBrendan Gallagher
Rene BourqueLars EllerJiri Sekac
Brandon PrustManny MalhotraDale Weise

Subban – Emelin
Andrei Markov – Gilbert
Nathan BeaulieuMike Weaver


TV/Radio Schedule

Time: 7:00 p.m.

TV: Comcast SportsNet

Radio: Capitals Radio Network or Capitals Mobile App

As usual, Joe Beninati will do the TV play by play and Craig Laughlin will be the TV analyst. The incomparable John Walton will once again be the radio voice for the Capitals.


4-1 Capitals. The Capitals are going to feed off the energy of the crowd, and the Canadiens will put up an admirable fight, but on the second leg of back-to-back games, stopping the Capitals will be too tall a task. Ovechkin will once again rise to the occasion against the Canadiens and score two goals, Braden Holtby will continue his domination of the Canadiens, and Niskanen will start his Capitals career on the right foot by adding at least one assist.

Let’s Go Caps!