When the Washington Capitals acquired Scott Hannan from the Colorado Avalanche November 30, they would endure an eight-game losing streak. Coincidentally, since acquiring Marco Sturm, Dennis Wideman and Jason Arnott at the trade deadline two weeks ago, the Caps have won eight straight. Washington will look to make it nine against the Montreal Canadiens in the first of six straight on the road.
The Caps are the NHL's hottest team, going 9-1-0 in their last 10 games. The winning streak has catapulted the Caps to both the top of the Southeast Division and second place in the Eastern Conference. Much of that can attributed to stellar goaltending and defense; Washington has only surrendered 12 goals in eight games. Because of that, Braden Holtby earned the NHL's First Star of the Week award after going 4-0-0 with a 1.05 GAA and .965 save percentage last week.
Washington will enter Bell Centre for the first time since losing Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals last season. Montreal is on a hot streak of their own, having won six of seven and seven of 10. Carey Price could give Holtby a run for his money; he has won five of his last six starts with a 1.17 GAA and identical .965 save percentage.
The team plane will be more full with the additions of Nicklas Backstrom, Semyon Varlamov and Tom Poti, who have all been suffering from injuries. The three of them making the trip could mean that their respective returns are imminent. Meanwhile, Mike Green did not make the trip; he is not eligible to come off of injured reserve until March 22.