Gameday: vs. Montreal, Jan. 24

Image via Clydeorama

The Washington Capitals will welcome the Montreal Canadiens to Verizon Center on Thursday night as they attempt to get their first win of the 2013 season.  The Caps have dropped their first two games while conceding ten goals in the process, and are 0-2 for the first time in more than a decade.  The Canadiens, who beat the Panthers 4-1 in their last game Tuesday, are 1-1 and look good, finally restored to health after a miserable season beset by injuries last year.  Tonight is a big game for the Capitals, as an 0-3 start will plunge the team and the fan base into further panic under new head coach Adam Oates.

The ever-reliable Carey Price will get the call in goal from Michel Therrien in the Montreal net, Price’s third consecutive start.  The Habs’ franchise goaltender has played very well this season, allowing three goals across his two games for a 1.52 GAA and .944 save percentage.  Defenseman PK Subban will not play this evening as he is currently in a contract dispute with new GM Marc Bergevin and has not been signed; he’s missed Montreal’s first two games.  Other than that, Therrien will field a full lineup.

After a second consecutive uninspiring performance from Braden Holtby between the Washington pipes, Oates will turn to Michal Neuvirth to right the ship.  Neuvirth started 30 games last year and posted a 2.82 GAA and .903 save percentage; he’s also played well against the Canadiens in his career.  On the injury front, both Jack Hillen and Brooks Laich will be absent with upper-body and groin injuries, respectively.  To that end, the lineup will stay the same with Eric Fehr benched among forwards and John Erskine and Jeff Schultz joining him in the press box among defensemen. In personnel changes, Wojtek Wolski and Matt Hendricks earned promotions to the first and second lines, respectively.  This means Marcus Johnasson has been relegated to fourth line duty with Joey Crabb and Mathieu Perreault.

Puck drops from Verizon Center 7:09-ish.  The game can be seen locally on Comcast SportsNet and on RDS in Montreal, should you be in frigid Quebec.  Check back later.

Harry Hawkings is a college student credentialed to cover the Capitals for RtR.  Follow him on Twitter here for all your news needs this season.