NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, March 30th (All times eastern)
Washington Capitals (24-38-9) at Montreal Canadiens (36-27-9), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens seek their fifth straight win tonight when they welcome the Washington Capitals to the Bell Centre.
Montreal enters the night's action in a three-way tie with New Jersey and Tampa Bay at 81 points. Due to tiebreaking rules, the Habs would currently be the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
On Tuesday, Cristobal Huet made 36 saves to record his sixth shutout of the season and lead the Canadiens past the New York Islanders, 2-0, at the Bell Centre. Chris Higgins scored the game-deciding goal in the first period and Huet held off a late Islanders power play for Montreal.
Canadiens are seeking their first set of back-to-back playoff appearances since 1997-98.
Huet has managed all six of his shutouts since he took over for the departed Jose Theodore as starter in early February.
The Canadiens can match their season high for a winning streak this evening. They won five straight from October 31-November 8.
Montreal will begin a two-game home set against Boston on Saturday. The teams will face off again three days later.
Washington, meanwhile, seeks its third straight win after back-to-back decisions over Carolina. On Wednesday, Matt Bradley scored two goals as the Capitals played the spoiler by defeating the Hurricanes, 5-1, at RBC Center. The Caps denied the Canes the opportunity to clinch the Southeast Division title.
Brian Willsie added a goal and an assist for the Capitals, whose current spurt comes after losing eight in a row.
Alexander Ovechkin netted his 48th goal of the season and Brent Johnson made 49 saves in the win.
Ovechkin is now two shy of reaching the 50-goal plateau. Only three rookies in NHL history have tallied 50 goals or more -- Teemu Selanne (76), Mike Bossy (53) and Joe Nieuwendyk (51). Only Selanne managed 50 goals and 100 points.
The Capitals will visit Ottawa on Saturday.
Washington is 2-1 against Montreal this season, but the Habs posted a 4-2 win in DC on March 20. The Canadiens have won four of the last seven meetings overall.
03/30 12:27:23 ET