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 Habs take on Caps

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PostSubject: Habs take on Caps   Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:28 pm

Kovalev-less Habs take on Caps

http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=267605&lid=headline&lpos=secStory_main

(Sports Network) - The faltering Montreal Canadiens will try to win for just the second time in seven games, and will do so without winger Alex Kovalev, when they visit the Washington Capitals for tonight's clash at Verizon Center.

Catch the action on TSN and TSN HD, starting at 7:30pm et/4:30 pm pt.

The Canadiens have dropped five of six and 10 of their last 13 games, but are still tied for fifth in the Eastern Conference with 66 points. There are currently three other teams in the East with 66 points, as Florida, Buffalo and the New York Rangers are all tied with the Habs.

Habs general manager Bob Gainey made a surprising announcement Tuesday, as he stated Kovalev, who is not injured, will not travel with the team to Washington or Pittsburgh. Gainey cited a lack of emotion and production as the reasons for leaving the Russian forward at home while the team plays the final two tests of a six-game road trip.

Kovalev has recorded just 13 goals and 39 points in 57 games this season after notching 35 goals and 84 points a year ago. Gainey did not rule out a possible return to the ice for Kovalev in Saturday's home game against Ottawa.

Gainey also made a trade on Monday to try and shake up his struggling squad, as Montreal acquired veteran defenseman Mathieu Schneider from Atlanta for draft picks. The 39-year-old Schneider has four goals and 11 assists in 44 games this season. He began his career with Montreal and played on the Canadiens' last Stanley Cup team in 1993.

Montreal ended a four-game losing streak with a win in Colorado on Friday, but was then handed a setback Sunday night against Vancouver. Henrik and Daniel Sedin each recorded a goal and an assist, as the Canucks recorded a 4-2 decision at GM Place.

Saku Koivu and Andrei Kostitsyn scored for Montreal, while Jaroslav Halak allowed four goals on 33 shots in the loss.

The Canadiens are 13-15-2 as the guest this year and have lost eight of their last nine road tests. The Habs will cap the swing Thursday night against the Pens.

Meanwhile, Washington, which is tops in the Southeast Division and tied for second in the East, has won two straight, three of four and six of its last eight games.

The Caps beat division rival Florida on Sunday to end a three-game road trip with a 2-0-1 mark. Tonight's test marks the start of a five-game homestand for Washington, which is an amazing 22-4-1 as the host this season.

Alex Ovechkin's hat trick, which included the game-winner with 2:31 left in the third period, sent the Capitals past the Panthers, 4-2, at BankAtlantic Center on Sunday.

It was the star left wing's third trick of the season and eighth of his brief four-plus season career. The performance upped his league-leading goals total to 41 on the season and gave him at least a point in nine straight games having notched 10 goals and five assists during the impressive run.

Ovechkin also moved ahead of Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and into second place with 74 points on the season.

Eric Fehr had Washington's other goal and Jose Theodore turned aside 29-of-31 shots. Caps defenseman Mike Green had his scoring streak come to an end after setting a new record for defensemen by scoring in his eighth straight game in Saturday's win over Tampa Bay.

Washington is 2-1 against the Canadiens this season and has taken four of the last six meetings between the clubs. Montreal has also dropped two straight and three of its last four in D.C.
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PostSubject: Re: Habs take on Caps   Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:51 pm

yeah the rumours are swirling like hell as kovalev is sent home that he will be traded.
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PostSubject: Re: Habs take on Caps   Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:20 pm

Well this is a heartbreaker for montreal. Losing the lead late in the 3rd of a shot from the point that was deflected tied it up. Montreal almost had it won in overtime when a slapper in a two on one hit the inside post. The shootout was no competition as backstrom and semin both scored for the caps who won 2-0. I can still sleep easier knowing that montreal played good hockey tonight.
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