Tonight, the 15th place Montreal Canadiens take on the 10th place Washington Capitals in Washington D.C. In some ways, it’s a battle of the most disappointing teams for this season. The Canadiens can’t even manage being a bubble team, while Washington was expected to contend in the habitually weak SouthEastern conference. Washington comes in having lost 3 games straight, while the Canadiens have lost 2 straight. With a win, the Capitals can vault into 9th (tied with the Leafs who lost versus San Jose last night). With a win, the Canadiens can scale the lofty heights of a three way tie for 11th. Needless to say, the time is ticking for the Canadiens to make a real push for the playoffs. At this point, it seems all but impossible yet their only saving grace is the utter mediocrity of the Eastern Conference.
What to look out for tonight? Hopefully a balancing of the scales. In two games against the Capitals, the Canadiens dropped both contests while being outshot 61-39 combined. If the Canadiens can pick one up here, they can at least get some sort of moral victory. I expect big games from the newly formed line of Eller- Plekanec- AK46, as at this point all three of them need to put a good effort together. It’s been a quiet few games for Cole-Desharnais-Pacioretty, but it would seem that Cole is harbouring an injury.
Tonight, Carey Price is expected to get the call in nets. With only a few days until the Trade Deadline, this stretch of games will officially let us know if the Canadiens managements wants to sell or make a push for the 8th spot.
Also a final tidbit – according to a wide set of legitimate sources, Kings forward Dustin Brown is available. Brown is 6’0 and 204 lbs, shoots right-handed and is in his prime at 27 years old. Brown is a fairly consistent performer, he has put together 4 seasons of more than 20 goals including a 33 goal season. He is the leader in hits almost annually, and he is wearing the C for LA. Obviously, why would LA trade him? Well, they just acquired Jeff Carter from Columbus, needed an injection of scoring quite desperately to save their season. Now, they are quite top heavy and with comments like the ones Sutter made last week about the Brown-Kopitar stagnancy, it would seem that a culture change is underway in Los Angeles.
If I’m Pierre Gauthier, I inquire as to Brown‘s services. He’s a clutch performer, is on a relatively cheap contract ($3,175,000 annually until 2013-2014). At this point, Lombardi would probably want either performers on the cheap or some sort of cap relief. My offer? Andrei Kostitsyn, Yannick Weber. Both players that are probably not in the Canadiens plans, but can definitely contribute on offense. I would assume that someone else will overpay (cough, Rangers) but I suppose there’s no harm in sending in an offer at this point.