The Caps are on the ice here at Bell Centre for the morning skate. All of the healthy guys are accounted for, and Shaone Morrisonn is also skating with his teammates. Bruce Boudreau said the team will see how Morrisonn is after the pre-game skate before making a decision on his status, but it seems like a good bet that Karl Alzner will be getting another game tonight.
None of the other injured guys are on the trip. Yesterday Boudreau had said he thought Alexander Semin might come with the team and didn’t want to rule him out for Monday in Raleigh, but this certainly seems like it would.
Washington’s opponent isn’t doing much better in the health department. In fact, the Canadiens are probably in worse shape. Montreal will likely be without seven players tonight, including defensemen Andrei Markov and Hall Gill and top-line forwards Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez. The Habs are getting Jaroslav Spacek back, so expect to see a lot of him and Roman Hamrlik matched against Alex Ovechkin’s line.
As for No. 8, he hasn’t had a multi-point game since returning from his injury, and he’s got some work to do in that department. San Jose’s Joe Thornton is now up to 36 points after last night — nine more than the two-time defending league MVP and defending scoring champion. In fact, Ovechkin has slipped into a tie for 12th in points, but he remains only two goals off the pace currently set by New York’s Marian Gaborik.
Not only will this be Mathieu Perreault’s first game in this building, it is a first for assistant coach Bob Woods as well. He has been in the old Forum, but Boudreau said his assistant is in for something unique tonight.
“It is a great buzz in the building,” Boudreau said. “When you win, you are really happy — especially if you’re from Toronto. The atmosphere is like no other in hockey, and it is what makes playing here so fabulous — and so tough.”