Hey look kids, there's Big Ben, and there's Parliament.
For the second time in two weeks the Caps will be at home trying to salvage one game of a home-and-home series against a Canadian Northeast Division opponent. And as this is the fourth game between the Caps and Habs since December 20, it's getting tough to come up with interesting story lines and stats.
Is Bruce Boudreau really pissed off about how Montreal played out the dying minutes of Tuesday night's game? I doubt it. More likely, he's using it to try to fire up his squad to ensure they don't come out flat like they did in that game.
Will Shaone Morrisonn be able to play? Will John Erskine be able to convince the Verizon Center event staff to secretly add two feet in height to the end zone glass? And, of course, how will Olie Kolzig play given this golden opportunity to regain some confidence, both in himself and from his teammates and coaches?
This Caps team hasn't gone pointless in consecutive games under Boudreau, and now would be the absolute wrong time to break that streak. And while the above story lines are in play, so too is this stat: the Caps have never lost at home to Montreal on a Thursday in January. Sure, that stat covers just one game (January 4, 2007), but right now it's all about "just one game" for the Caps, or, more precisely, not allowing one loss to become two. And that makes this one game enormous, even if it is "just one game."
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
Twenty years ago today the Caps played one of the more memorable regular season games in team history (to me, anyway), a 1-0 overtime victory over the Flyers in a Super Bowl Sunday matinee with Kelly Miller potting the game-winner and Pete Peeters getting the shutout. Later in the day, Doug Williams would lead the Redskins to a 42-10 thumping of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII. Best day in local sports history? Probably.
Hart: Owen Nolan (3G, including the game-winner, fight, +3, 4 SOG)
Ross: Owen Nolan, Nicklas Lidstrom, Marek Svatos, Pavel Datsyuk, Tyler Arnason (3 points each)
Norris: Nicklas Lidstrom (Game-winning goal, 2A, +3, 7 SOG in 3-2 win)
Vezina: Ryan Miller (27-save 1-0 shutout win)
Richard: Owen Nolan (3G)
Calder: Martin Hanzal (G, +1, 4 SOG)
Aiken: J.-S. Giguere (L, 3 goals allowed on 11 shots against in 23:18 of work)