NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, November 22nd (All times Eastern)
Montreal Canadiens (11-9-2) at Washington Capitals (12-9-1), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Capitals will try bounce back after having their momentum halted the last time out, as they host the Montreal Canadiens in Friday's battle at Verizon Center.
The Capitals had won three in a row and scored four times in each game during that hot streak before getting dealt a 4-0 home loss by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday. It marked just the second time this season Washington had been blanked and the first time since the New York Rangers recorded a 2-0 win in D.C. on Oct. 16.
Washington also was outshot by a wide 40-18 margin in Wednesday's loss, which ended a six-game home winning streak for the Caps and dropped them to 8-4-0 at the Verizon Center this season. The club hadn't lost on home ice since the 2-0 setback versus the Rangers last month.
While Marc-Andre Fleury needed only to make 18 stops to record the shutout for Pittsburgh, Capitals netminder Braden Holtby turned aside 36-of-40 shots in a losing effort. The Pens fired 32 shots at Holtby through the first two periods alone and held a 3-0 edge after 40 minutes of action.
"There's lots of ways to lose games, and that's not really one way you want to do it," Washington head coach Adam Oates said after the disappointing effort.
Washington could get a boost from the return of defenseman Mike Green on Friday. The offensive-minded blueliner sat out the past three games with a lower-body injury, but expects to play tonight. Green has 11 points -- all assists -- in 19 games this season.
The Caps hope Green can help them get back in the win column tonight in the finale of a three-game homestand. Washington has had tons of success against the Canadiens in recent years, winning two straight and eight of the past nine overall meetings between the clubs.
Montreal also has lost four of six and seven of its past 10 games in D.C.
After starting the month of November on an 0-3-1 slide, the Canadiens have recorded wins in three of their last five outings (3-1-1).
Montreal turned in its best offensive performance of the season in its most recent trip to the ice, setting a season-high in goals with Tuesday's 6-2 home victory over Minnesota. Max Pacioretty scored the first three goals of the game to notch his second career hat trick and lead the way in the rout of the Wild.
Pacioretty had just two goals in 12 games this season before more than doubling his total with Tuesday's outburst. The American winger fired a career-high 10 shots on goal against the Wild.
"I've missed a lot of good opportunities lately and it started getting in my head that I couldn't score," Pacioretty told his team's official website after the game.
Michael Bournival, Daniel Briere and Alex Galchenyuk also lit the lamp for the Canadiens, while Carey Price made 25 saves for the win.
Montreal, which is playing three of its next four games on the road, is just 1-3-0 as the visiting team in November.
With the Canadiens playing on back-to-back days, Peter Budaj will get the start tonight while Price is scheduled to play Saturday against Pittsburgh. Budaj is 0-2-1 with a 2.95 goals against average in four career outings against the Capitals.
11/22 10:44:13 ET