The Washington Capitals made the trip up to Montreal to play the Canadiens for the final time this season on Thursday. The Caps are losers of four in a row and have been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
Caps head coach Peter Laviolette spoke to the media on Tuesday and said his team is going into the game “expecting to win it” despite their postseason circumstances.
The Caps entered the season tied for the second-longest active streak of making the playoffs in the league (eight years), including two seasons under Laviolette’s watch.
“I don’t think we’ve done what we needed to do,” Laviolette said. “You can classify it however you want. We were in situations to win, to move, to get traction, and we didn’t get that done. I guess in that sense, it’s disappointing. Nothing changes going into Montreal – we should go into that game expecting to win it.
“I want our group to play well and win because that’s why we’re here,” he continued. “That’s what we’re supposed to do – I’d like to see us go play a good hockey game and get a win.”
To get that win the Caps are sticking with the same forward group they iced in Sunday’s 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers. Here is a reminder of what that looked like.
Caps captain Alex Ovechkin has gone without a goal for three games. He was essentially thrown out of the loss to New York with 3:31 left in the third period and sarcastically clapped the officials on his way to the locker room.
In that game against the Rangers, the third line headed up by Nicklas Backstrom at center was the team’s most successful trio. With those three on the ice at five-on-five, the Caps out-attempted New York 11 to 4, out-scoring chanced them 10 to 2, and out-high danger chanced 8 to 1.
Skate scenes from MTL pic.twitter.com/GQF1A0dsQ1
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) April 6, 2023
Neither TJ Oshie nor Trevor van Riemsdyk traveled with the team to Montreal as both are still nursing upper-body injuries.
According to The Washington Post’s Roman Stubbs, Darcy Kuemper will get his 54th start of the season. Kuemper’s lone start in April was in that blowout loss to New York. He gave up five goals on 34 shots against.
The Habs will come into the action also losers of four straight and are one of just eight teams currently placed below the Caps in the overall NHL standings. They have a 3-7-0 record in their last ten outings which is one win better than the Caps’ last ten of 2-6-2.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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