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Capitals anxiously await Joel Ward's return

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Capitals anxiously await Joel Ward's return

For anyone who has seen last season’s episodes of “Chimmer and Wardo” the relationship between 36-year-old Jason Chimera and 34-year-old Joel Ward is one built on a mutual love of food, music and, of course, humor.

Tuesday night at Verizon Center, the two former teammates will line up against each other when Ward and the San Jose Sharks visit the Caps (6:30 p.m. pregame, CSN).

“It’s very emotional,” Chimera said Monday, jokingly holding back tears for the camera. “It’s always weird when you play good friends of yours on other teams. You forget about it when the game starts, but in warmups I’m sure we’ll tell some jokes together.”

When the puck drops, however, Chimera promises it will be all business.

“I’ll hit him,” he said. “He won’t fight me because he’s not a fighter. He’s a lover. Bob Marley. One love.”

Capitals coach Barry Trotz, who gave Ward his first full-time job in the NHL with the Nashville Predators in 2008, said he’s not sure whether to send his third line of Jay Beagle, Tom Wilson and Chimera out against the Sharks’ line of Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture and Ward.

MORE CAPITALS: 'HE WINKED AT ME'

“It’s going to be a lovefest between him and Chimmer if they’re on the ice together,” Trotz said. “If I play the Beagle line against the Marleau line, they’ll be standing next to each other talking.”

If so, it would be a continuation of the conversation Chimera and Ward had Sunday when Chimera asked Ward if he could meet him for dinner Monday night after the Sharks arrived in D.C.

“He said he’s got a long flight and he’s got to rest up,” Chimera said. “He usually caves it up with room service after a long flight.”

Chimera is not the only Capitals player looking forward to catching up with Ward, who was one of the most popular players in the dressing room during his three seasons with the Caps before signing a three-year deal worth just over $9 million to play in San Jose. (The Caps reportedly were not willing to go beyond two years.)

“It’s totally different without him in the room,” said Caps center Michael Latta, who trained with Ward in Toronto over the summer. “He’s a big brother almost. He never yells at you, but if you’re messing up he’s there to tell you. He would take me and (Wilson) out for dinner and stuff like that. He was really good for us.”

In his first two games for the Sharks, victories over Anaheim and Los Angeles, Ward has two assists while seeing time on both the power play and penalty kill.  

“It’s unfortunate when you lose good teammates, especially guys who will go through a wall for you,” Chimera said. “But it’s nice to see him land where he did. It’s a good deal and a good fit for him. Good weather, good life and a great organization for him. They’re still a pretty damn good team.”

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Capitals Injury updates: Braden Holtby a possibility to start in Montreal

Capitals Injury updates: Braden Holtby a possibility to start in Montreal

The Capitals were able to pull out a win Friday in Colorado without Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie or Braden Holtby. With a game Monday in Montreal, the team hopes it will not be quite as shorthanded against the Canadiens.

Washington practiced Sunday in Montreal and three goalies took to the ice. Holtby was on the ice along with Pheonix Copley and Ilya Samsonov 

Holtby suffered an upper-body injury Wednesday morning prior to the game in Winnipeg. That injury kept him out of the lineup both Wednesday and Friday. The Caps netminder told Chris Kuc of The Atlantic that he is ready to play, but still needs to be cleared by doctors.

Head coach Todd Reirden said after practice that Holtby was a possibility to start Monday.

With Holtby’s status still up in the air, Samsonov remains with the team in case he is needed to suit up as a backup.

While Holtby was on the ice for practice, both Kuznetsov and Oshie were not. Reirden told the media that both players are day-to-day and are with the team in Montreal. Their status for Monday remains uncertain.

With no Kuznetsov or Oshie, Reirden kept the offensive lines largely the same from Friday except for switching Devante Smith-Pelly to the third line and moving Brett Connolly down to the fourth.

Alex Ovechkin – Lars Eller – Tom Wilson 
Jakub Vrana – Nicklas Backstrom – Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson – Travis Boyd – Devante Smith-Pelly
Dmitrij Jaskin – Nic Dowd – Brett Connolly

Reirden switched up the lines frequently on Friday and Stephenson, Boyd, Smith-Pelly combined for a goal in the second period.

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Capitals vs. Canadiens: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

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Capitals vs. Canadiens: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

When the Capitals traveled to Montreal to face the Canadiens earlier this month, they suffered one of their toughest losses of the season, allowing three goals in the final three-plus minutes of the third period, falling 6-4 in devastating fashion.

The Caps will be looking for revenge on Monday evening, as they get their first crack at the Canadiens since that devastating loss.

Alex Ovechkin enjoys playing against the Canadiens. In 47 games against Montreal in his career, Ovechkin has 51 points (29 goals and 22 assists), including a two-goal performance in their meeting earlier this season.

Here is everything you need to know about Capitals vs. Canadiens which takes place Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington.

CAPITALS at CANADIENS: HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens, Game 20 of the 2018-19 NHL Regular Season

Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When: Monday, November 19, 7:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Capitals vs. Canadiens will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals at the Canadiens on the new MyTeams by NBC Sports App.

Radio: Caps Radio 24/7, 106.7 The Fan, 1500 AM

CAPITALS at CANADIENS TV SCHEDULE

6:30 PM: Caps Overtime Live
7:00 PM: Caps Pregame Live
7:30 PM: Capitals at Montreal Canadiens
10:00 PM: Caps Postgame Live
10:30 PM: Caps Overtime Live

CAPITALS at CANADIENS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Max Domi, LW, Canadiens: In 20 games, Domi has recorded a point in all but three of them. His 24 points are tied for the ninth-most in the NHL.

Alex Ovechkin, LW, Capitals: Ovechkin loves playing against the Canadiens, as he has totaled 51 points in 47 career games against Montreal. In their first meeting this season, he netted two goals in the 6-4 loss.

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