National Hockey league action on Monday evening and the Metro Division will square off with the Atlantic Division as the Washington Capitals grapple with the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec. These teams met in the nation's capital back on November 15th and the Habs won that game 5-2. The Capitals enter this game at 33-16 on the year while the Canadiens are 22-28.
The Caps Are looking For 4th Win In A RowThe Washington Capitals had a very strong 1st half of the season and they went into the break riding a three-game winning streak. The Caps scored 11 goals in their last two games after notching just five goals in their previous three games. Washington currently has a four-point lead of over the Penguins in the Metro Division and a one-point lead over the Boston Bruins for the most points in the league. Alex Ovechkin has been on fire of late as he has notched hat tricks in his last two games and eight goals total in his last three. He now has 34 goals on the year. The problem is that Ovechkin is serving a suspension and is not available until Wednesday. One of his hat tricks was in Washington's 6-3 road win over the Islanders in their final game before the break. The Caps were trailing 4-1 heading to the 3rd when the Caps when off and scored five goals to come away with the win. Ovechkin had two of them. Also scoring in the win was Carl Hagelin, which was his 3rd of the year, Tom Wilson, which was his 14th and Jakub Vrana, which was his 2nd.
Grabbing the win against the Islanders was Ilya Samsonov (15-3, 2.06 GAA), who stopped all seven shots that he faced after coming in for Barden Holtby, who allowed four goals on 22 shot attempts. Holtby will be back in the crease for this one and he has gone 18-13 with a 3.09 GAA on the year while out on the road he has gone 9-7 with a 3.41 GAA. In his career, he has gone 125-85 with 2.76 GA on the road and 33-23 with a 2.71 GAA during the month of January, plus 13-4 with a 1.67 GAA against the Canadiens.
The Capitals enter this game ranked 5th in the league in scoring at 3.55 gpg and 14th in power-play conversions at 20.3% while on the defensive end of the ice, they are 11th in the league in goals allowed at 2.90 gpg and 2nd in penalty kill at 84.2%.
Habs Look To Make A Push For The PlayoffsThe Montreal Canadiens did not have a great first half as they went just 22-28 through their first 50 games and are 19 points out of first in the Atlantic Division. They have been playing a bit better of late as Montreal has won four of their last five games but still, they are 10 points out of the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs standings. The Habs hope to continue to build on the momentum that they had going into the break and make a run at a playoff spot. It will not be easy in this one as the Caps have gone 17-5 in their last 22 games here at the Bell Centre. In their last game, the Canadiens defeated the Golden Knights at home by a score of 5-4 in a shootout and getting the deciding goal was Tomas Tatar. Scoring in regulation was Nick Cousins, who scored twice and now has seven on the year, Ilya Kovalchuk, which was his 7th of the year and Joel Armia, which was his 13th.
Grabbing the win against the Golden Knights was Carey Price, who stopped 30 of the 34 shots that he faced to move to 20-20 with a 2.84 GAA on the year, including 9-12 with a 2.97 GAA here at home. In his career, he has gone 191-163 with a 2.35 GAA in his home games and 44-48 with a 2.57 GAA during the month of January, plus 8-19 with a 3.29 GAA against the Capitals.
The Canadiens enter this game ranked 16th in the league in scoring at 3.04 gpg and 12th in power-play conversions at 20.6% while on the defensive end of the ice, they are 21st in the league in goals allowed at 3.12 gpg and 21st in penalty kill at 78.9%.
Trends Are Courtesy Of Covers.com Washington is:
- 16-5 in their last 21 games playing on 3 or more days rest
- 99-38 in their last 137 vs. Atlantic
- 19-9 in the last 28 meetings
- 6-14 in their last 20 games playing on 3 or more days rest
- 3-13 in their last 16 after scoring 5 goals or more in their previous game
- The home team is 8-21 the last 29 games in this series