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AAA Keys to the Game: Big test awaits Caps in Montreal


AAA Keys to the Game: Big test awaits Caps in Montreal

The Capitals (17-5-1, 35 points) will visit the Montreal Canadiens (19-4-3, 41 points) tonight at the Bell Centre (7 p,m. pregame, CSN). Here are our AAA Keys to the Game:

Where they stand: The Caps have won five straight but remain two points behind the New York Rangers in the Metropolitan Division standings. The Rangers will face the Colorado Avalanche tonight at MSG. The Canadiens, who have played three more games than the Caps, own the NHL’s best record and are 5-0-1 in their last six games.

"Both teams have Stanley Cup aspirations and we're both around the top of the conference, so yeah, it's one you might look at a couple of months ago and not really think it's a big deal, but now it is,” Capitals right wing Justin Williams told reporters after today’s morning skate. “Every little edge you can get in a game, whether it be in regular season, preseason, anything, to make the team think that you're too hard to beat is important, so it's an important game for us."

Holt-beast: Holtby enters tonight’s game with a personal high seven-game win streak. He went 9-2-0 with a 1.99 GAA and. 927 SP in the month of November. With Carey Price sidelined with a lower-body injury, rookie goaltender Mike Condon is expected to get his fourth straight start for the Habs. Condon is 9-2-3 with a 2.11 GAA and .918 save percentage.

Feeling it: Alex Left wing Ovechkin has four goals and two assists in his past six games, while center Evgeny Kuznetsov has two goals and six assists in his past five games. Left wing Jason Chimera has a goal and an assist in each of his past two games. Three of Marcus Johansson’s five goals this season have been game winner. Montreal left wing Max Pacioretty has a five-game point streak and leads the Habs with 13 goals and 25 points.

Chasing history: With a win tonight Caps coach Barry Trotz would catch former Caps GM Bryan Murray with 620 NHL coaching victories, good for 10th on the NHL’s all-time list. Justin Williams is one point shy of 600 in the NHL.Left wing Marcuys Johansson is one point shy of 200 and Karl Alzner is set to play in his 400th consecutive game.

Powerful: The Caps scored have scored six power-play goals in their last three games and 10 in their last nine. The Caps are 19 for 71 (26.8 percent) on the man-advantage, ranking second in the NHL.

Clarification: Caps defenseman Brooks Oroiuk (lower body) is on the team’s two-game road but will not play tonight and is not expected to play Saturday in Winnipeg.

Here are tonight’s projected lineups:


Forward lines

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams

Jason Chimera - Jay Beagle - Andre Burakovsky

Brooks LaichMichael Latta - Tom Wilson

Defense pairs

Nate Schmidt - John Carlson

KaRL Alzner - Matt Niskanen

Dmitry Orlov - Taylor Chorney


Braden Holtby (starter) - Philipp Grubauer

Injured: Brooks Orpik (lower body)

Scratches: Stanislav Galiev, Chris Brown


Forward lines

Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - Dale Weise

Tomas Fleischmann - Tomas Plekanec - Paul Byron

Lars Eller - Alex Galchenyuk - Sven Andrighetto

Devante Smith-Pelly - Brian Flynn - Christian Thomas

Defense pairs

Andrei Markov - P.K. Subban

Nathan Beaulieu - Jeff Petry

Alexei Emelin - Tom Gilbert


Mike Condon (starter) - Zach Fucale

Injured: Brendan Gallagher (hand), Torrey Mitchell (lower body), Carey Price (lower body), Alex Semin (lower body)

Scratched: Greg PaterynDaniel Carr


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Brian MacLellan got his day with the Stanley Cup over the weekend

Brian MacLellan got his day with the Stanley Cup over the weekend

Washington Capitals GM Brian MacLellan finally got his day. 

Over the weekend, MacLellan played host to the Stanley Cup, taking it home to his offseason house in Minnesota. 

MacLellan brought the Cup to Powderhorn Park, where a youth hockey tournament was being put on by the Herb Brooks Foundation. 

MacLellean talked with local media about the experience:

"It's a fun day, a fun day to see people react to the Cup," MacLellan told FOX 9 TV. "You know, it brings a lot of smiles to people's faces, people that sometimes don't get a chance to get close to it are getting an opportunity and it's fun to watch them enjoy it."


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This Caps Stanley Cup tattoo has everyone's beat


This Caps Stanley Cup tattoo has everyone's beat

Since the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup for the first time over one month ago, Caps fans, (and players), have rushed to their local tattoo parlor to get some ink commemorating the win.

We've seen the classic Capitals logo with the Stanley Cup, but nothing that comes close to the masterpiece that is Shane Peacher's tattoo.

Peacher tweeted to Joe B and Courtney Laughlin the finished tat: a work of art featuring Alex Ovechkin kissing the Stanley Cup for the first time as it's hoisted over his head.

Joe B replied making sure Shane had enough room on his other tricep for next year.

Shane replied that he's thinking of Evgeny Kuznetsov's iconic celebration that has since been dubbed the "birdman."

Shane got his Caps tattoo at the Helix Tattoo Lodge in Rising Sun, Maryland, by tattoo artist, Justin Holcombe.