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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Pregame Preview: Canadiens vs Capitals (Game #52)

habs_vs_capitals
Match Up:

The Canadiens (27-19-5) return home to the Bell Centre Saturday night to play host to the Capitals (22-21-8). The game is set to start at 7:00 and airs on RDS and CBC.

This is the third and final game between the Habs and Caps this year, they've already split a pair of 3-2 games, but the Habs have picked up 3 of 4 points against Washington. Tomas Plekanec had a goal and an assist last time these teams met, but Mikhail Grabovsk scored a late goal to draw the Caps even and then added the shootout winner in the fourth round. Braden Holtby wass the game's first star after stopping 35 of 37 shots.

What to Watch:

The line of Tomas Plekanec, Lars Eller and Brian Gionta weren't able to find the back of the net in Detroit but they did combine for 14 of the team's 31 shots Friday night and managed to maintain an even rating. Brendan Gallagher, the lone Habs goals scorer in Detroit, scored his seventh power play goal of the season, tying him with Max Pacioretty for the team lead.

The Capitals have been held to just 3 goals in their last 4 games, and 8 in the last 7. Braden Holtby is expected to start in Montreal Saturday night, he's 0-3-1 in his last 4 starts with 17 goals allowed in that span.

What's at Stake:

Both the Habs and the Caps are in the midst of their worst streaks all season and probably looking at Saturday's game as their best opportunity to end those skids. Montreal has lost 3 straight in regulation for the first time all season, meanwhile, the Caps haven't won in their last 7, and now have 5 regulation losses in a row. The Canadiens have seen their comfortable playoff positioning reduced to a 3-point cushion over the eight placed Wings and the ninth placed Flyers, and for the first time all season, missing the playoffs looks like a real possibility.

Who's Out:

The Habs are still without Alex Galchenyuk (hand), Ryan White (upper body) and Davis Drewiske (shoulder). Alexei Emelin left Fridays game after blocking a shot in the third period but should be healthy enough to play Saturday night if he's called on.

Alex Ovechkin has missed the last two games with a lower body injury and is listed as day-to-day. Mikhail Grabovski left Friday's game with a lower body injury as well.

What Else:

This is the third time the Habs and Capitals are meeting this year and the third time their facing off as part of back-to-back games, and the first time they're meeting each other on the second night of a back-to-back stretch. For the Habs and the Caps, this is their tenth pair of games in consecutive nights. The Habs have a 5-4-0 record in the second game of these series, the Caps meanwhile are 4-3-2.

The Question Mark:

We want to hear from you, which version of the Habs that we've seen this year is the real one: the one that won 10 straight, the one that traded wins and losses in December, or the team that can't get anything going recently?

Let us know what you think, leave a comment or send us a tweet by using the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter.

Be sure to tune into the Montreal Hockey Talk Pregame Show an hour before the puck drop and the Post Game Show 5 minutes after the final siren. Join the live conversation by using the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter.

2 comments:

I sure hope the Habs fabled Ghosts werent watching tonight...It would kill them. Wrahahahahahaha Booooooooooooooooooo

You are going to hear about a Fire Therrien petition floating around other Canadiens sites, but just remember one thing, there is One Man still here that has been through the Gainey era, the Gauthier era and now the marc Bergevin era, and that is Trevor Timmins..And for Those few still singing his praises, just look at this teams Current roster after 12 years of Trevor Timmins, AND also go to the Hamilton Bulldogs roster And stats...That is what you have gotten under Trevor Timmins. Nothing!!

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