NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, January 25th
(All times Eastern)
Washington Capitals (22-21-8) at Montreal Canadiens (27-19-5), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens will both
be looking to snap losing streaks on Saturday night as the two clubs wrap up
games on back-to-back nights with a meeting at the Bell Centre.
The Capitals are in the midst of a seven-game skid, dropping the last five in
regulation. That has Washington now four points back of the eighth spot in the
Montreal is on a less-damaging three-game slide and also has lost six of its
past nine. That has left the Canadiens tied with the Toronto Maple Leafs for
third place in the Atlantic Division and six points behind the co-leading
Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning.
Washington has played its last two games without the NHL's goal-scoring
leader, Alex Ovechkin. The winger has 35 goals on the season and is battling a
The Capitals were shut out 2-0 by Ottawa in their first game without Ovechkin
on Tuesday, then dropped a 2-1 decision to the hosting New Jersey Devils to
begin a five-game trip on Friday night.
Jason Chimera provided the lone offense for the Capitals, but it didn't come
until there was 9:50 left in the game. Washington has been held to one goal or
fewer six times over its losing streak and is just 1-for-24 on the power play
in the last eight games.
Michael Neuvirth played well in defeat, making 28 saves, but the Caps failed
to take advantage of the chances they had.
"We had three short-handed breakaways and we didn't score," Caps coach Adam
Oates lamented. "(Devils goaltender Cory Schneider) held them in and made the
saves when he needed to. We made saves, too. You need execution, and the
mistakes are not blatant, but it's still the NHL and you get burned."
Washington, on its longest losing streak since an 0-6-2 drought from Dec.
2-18, 2010, also lost center Mikhail Grabovski to a lower-body injury during
the second period and he did not return. His status for this game, as well as
Ovechkin's, is unknown.
Montreal is set to play two straight and six of its next seven at home after
getting outscored 14-5 in losing the final three contests of a four-game road
trip. The Canadiens capped the swing last night with a 4-1 setback in Detroit.
Brendan Gallagher picked up the lone goal for the Canadiens, but Carey Price
made just 22 saves in the setback.
"Everyone is still confident in each other, it's just a matter of getting to
little details of the game and once you do that, the wins will start to come,"
Montreal is on its longest losing streak since dropping a season-high four in
a row from Nov. 1-7 and saw Alexei Emelin depart in the latter stages of the
third period on Friday night after getting hit by a shot.
Things don't get any easier for the Habs in the opener of this residency as
they have lost six in a row and nine of their last 12 at home to the Capitals.
The clubs split two meetings earlier this season in Washington, with the Caps
winning their game in a shootout, and the Canadiens have lost nine of their
last 11 overall in this series.
01/25 10:24:24 ET