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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Saturday, March 24th (All times eastern)

Washington Capitals (26-36-13) at Montreal Canadiens (38-31-6), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens will try to keep pace in the Eastern Conference this evening when they welcome the Washington Capitals to the Bell Centre.

Entering play on Saturday, Montreal finds itself even with Carolina for the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference. Both clubs have 82 points with the Hurricanes hosting San Jose today.

The Canadiens won for the fifth time in six games on Thursday, as Christopher Higgins scored and added three assists to lift Montreal past Boston, 6-3. Montreal netted five unanswered goals to claim victory, including four during a seven-minute span in the third period.

Tomas Plekanec had a goal and two assists for Montreal and Jaroslav Halak stopped 32 shots.

The Canadiens are 22-12-3 at home this season and host the New York Rangers on Tuesday. New York is seventh overall in the East, one point ahead of Montreal and Carolina.

Washington, meanwhile, has lost six in a row and 13 of its last 14 on the road and will try to improve on its 10-21-6 visiting mark tonight in the conclusion of a three-game swing. The Capitals have lost for the first two games of the trek, including a 4-3 setback to Carolina on Thursday.

Alexander Ovechkin scored twice and Alexander Semin had two assists in the loss. Brent Johnson allowed four goals on 39 shots.

Washington forward Matt Pettinger (fractured right thumb) is questionable for tonight's game.

Washington returns home on Tuesday to host Pittsburgh.

Montreal has taken two of the three meetings this season, and has bested the Capitals in seven of the last 11 matchups. Montreal has also won two straight at home in the series.

03/24 11:02:42 ET

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