[Ed. note: As part of the build-up to the first round playoff series between the Capitals and the Canadiens, Japers' Rink will be looking at some of the important but lesser-known players on the Canadiens and how they might impact the series.]
#46 / Left Wing / Montreal Canadiens
Feb 03, 1985
Novopolatsk, Byelorussian SSR, USSR
10th overall, 2003 by Montreal
|Strengths||Owns a great wrist shot, which he uses with aplomb. Has explosive scoring ability and a nose for the net. Loves to dangle and make nifty plays.|
|Weaknesses||Doesn't always put out maximum effort. Has issues in the defensive zone. Leaves himself vulnerable to big hits, which can lead to injuries.|
|Potential||Inconsistent scoring winger.|
Why you should know who he is - The point totals have dropped in each of the past couple of seasons for the elder Kostitsyn (younger brother Sergei is also with the Habs), and he has just just three goals in 19 games in calendar year 2010 after missing all of January and February with a knee injury. Still, Kostitsyn has plenty of talent (10 goals and 15 points in 16 games in December speaks to that, as do his nine points in ten career games against the Caps) and can burn you if you give him time and space. As his 102 hits in 59 games (a higher per-game rate than any Caps forward who doesn't wear a "C" on his sweater) indicate, he also doesn't mind playing with a physical edge, often toeing the line between clean and dirty.
How the Caps can stop him - Keep him close and play the body, not the puck (I'm looking at you, Mike Green). Make his life difficult and he might go away and/or lose his temper; give him room and he might be trouble.