Game 2: End of 2 – Caps stunned, down 4-2

It was almost disaster for the Capitals in the second period, but a
late surge has the momentum swinging in their favor and they’ll be on
the power play to start the third period. That being said, for the first
18 minutes of the period the Habs were taking the perfect approach to
stopping the Capitals and took advantage of their opportunities to take a
surprising 4-2 lead into the second period.

The Canadiens are
allowing the Capitals zero room through the neutral zone and on offense,
but it’s the absolutely surprising effort by the Capitals that is the
story of this game so far. Too many turnovers, way too many lazy passes
and it’s no surprise they are down by two goals after 40 minutes.

It’s
the same effort that lost them game 1, as the aggressive and
overwhelming Capitals team that was so successful all season long has
been replaced by a group that has yet to truly find their groove.
Whether it’s their frustration with the Habs defense, their reliance on
‘turning it on’ or just a team that is struggling, they have 20 minutes
to try and turn it around or face an improbable 0-2 deficit headed back
to Montreal.

After the power play goal late in the period, the
Capitals instantly responded with a quick goal and some intense
pressure. If there’s one team in the NHL capable of exploding with three
goals in a period it’s the Capitals; they’ll need it tonight.

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    Report: Ducks’ Stewart suffered broken jaw in fight (Video)

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    Per the Columbus Dispatch, Anaheim winger Chris Stewart reportedly suffered a broken jaw in his fight on Thursday night with Jackets d-man Dalton Prout.

    Stewart, who has eight goals and 18 points in 47 games this year, left the game following the scrap and didn’t return from the third period. Head coach Bruce Boudreau didn’t provide any update on the veteran’s condition following the contest.

    Assuming Stewart misses time with the injury, it would be a blow to the Anaheim lineup. Though he averages just 10:40 TOI per game, Stewart is a physical presence and has played pretty well of late, with three points in his last five games.

     

    With Price possibly done for the season, Scrivens has Dubnyk-like opportunity

    Montreal Canadiens' Devante Smith-Pelly , center,and Brendan Gallagher, left, celebrate their victory over the Carolina Hurricanes with goalie Ben Scrivens at an NHL hockey game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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    Last year, it was Devan Dubnyk who saved the Wild and salvaged his career.

    This year, could Ben Scrivens do the same for the Montreal Canadiens, and himself?

    Admittedly, the odds are against him. But with Carey Price possibly done for the season, there’s at least the potential.

    Scrivens, you’ll recall, was acquired from Edmonton in late December. While his first four starts did not go particularly well, he’s been downright solid lately. On Tuesday, he won his third straight, stopping 37 of 39 shots in a 4-2 win over Tampa Bay. His save percentage in those three wins was .959.

    The 29-year-old will make a fourth straight start tonight in Buffalo, getting the nod over Mike Condon, whose save percentage has fallen to a lowly .905 for the season.

    Like Dubnyk prior to joining the Wild, Scrivens has had success as an NHL goalie. In 2013-14, he boasted a .931 save percentage in 19 games for the Kings, before he was traded to Edmonton (right after the Oilers had traded Dubnyk, oddly enough) and things started to fall apart.

    Also like Dubnyk, Scrivens had to spend some time in the minors before he got another shot with an NHL team.

    Look, we’re not saying this is definitely going to happen. Scrivens has only had three good games, and the Habs’ issues since Price went down have extended beyond goaltending.

    All we’re saying is that there’s the potential.

    Tonight’s game is the first of three on the road for the Canadiens. They play Monday in Arizona and Wednesday in Colorado, before returning home to face Philadelphia next Friday.

    Avs waive veteran d-man Guenin, again

    at Pepsi Center on October 21, 2015 in Denver, Colorado.
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    Less than a month after exposing Nate Guenin to waivers, the Avs are at it again.

    On Friday, Colorado placed the veteran defenseman on the wire (per TVA), just hours after he was scratched from a 4-3 win over Ottawa on Thursday night.

    Guenin, 33, has only appeared in 29 games for the Avs this year, going pointless while averaging just over 13 minutes per night. It’s a far cry from the ’14-15 campaign, in which he posted career highs in games played (76), assists (13) and points (15).

    Guenin appears to have been passed on the depth chart by Andrew Bodnarchuk and Chris Bigras, both of whom played against the Sens (another defenseman, Zach Redmond, was a healthy scratch along with Guenin).

    Per General Fanager, today’s move might be more about shedding a contract than anything else:

    Preds entering key (and tough) stretch before trade deadline

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    Since an 11-3-3 start that saw them pile up 25 points in their first 17 games, the Nashville Predators have played 37 more times and gained just 33 points.

    For comparison’s sake, in all 30 teams’ last 37 games, only the Montreal Canadiens (in the midst of a shocking collapse) and the Buffalo Sabres (just not very good) have gained fewer than 33 points.

    So yeah, it’s been a struggle. The goaltending and defensive play have been sub-par. Offensively, it hasn’t been very good either.

    The good news for the Preds is that they’re still in the playoff race. In fact, thanks in large part to the imploding Wild, Nashville currently occupies the final wild-card spot in the West.

    With just nine games remaining before the Feb. 29 trade deadline, the players know they’re entering a key stretch.

    “I’m sure David Poile and the management have a few different plans,” defenseman Barret Jackman told The Tennessean, “but our thoughts in this room are picking up points and being a playoff contender… and making this team better and making a run for the Stanley Cup.”

    By the way, here are those next nine games…

    preds

    Pretty tough, right? Only Montreal and Toronto aren’t in a playoff spot.

    Suffice to say, it would be a huge disappointment if the Preds ended up missing the postseason — especially after acquiring Ryan Johansen, the number-one center everyone kept saying they needed.

    Johansen has actually been very good for them; he has 16 points in 14 games.

    It’s the team as a whole that needs to pick it up, and soon.

    Related: Preds believe Vesey could ‘come in and play right away’