NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, January 29th (All times eastern)
Washington Capitals (23-22-5) at Montreal Canadiens (26-15-8), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Alexander Ovechkin put on a show in Atlanta over the weekend. Washington will settle for its star lighting up Canada tonight, when the Capitals square off with the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
This game opens a home-and-home set between the two clubs, who will battle in Washington on Thursday.
Ovechkin has been leading Washington's charge up the standings. The Caps have won five of their last six games and are 17-8-4 since Bruce Boudreau took over head coaching duties on November 22.
Washington defeated Toronto, 2-1, on Thursday, with Viktor Kozlov netting the game-winning goal in the third period and Brent Johnson ending with 31 saves.
Brooks Laich also tallied as Washington moved to within a point of Southeast Division-leading Carolina. The Caps have not lost consecutive games in regulation since Boudreau took over.
While Ovechkin, who leads the league with 39 goals, had a six-game goal scoring streak end in the win, he did post two assists. The Russian sniper, whose 65 points are third in the NHL, has seven goals and six helpers over a seven-game points streak, with each game coming on the heels of signing a massive 13-year contract with the Capitals.
Ovechkin, named the NHL's second star in the All-Star Game, posted two goals in the Eastern Conference's win over the West on Sunday. He also won the Breakaway Challenge in Saturday's SuperSkills competition with some nifty moves.
Montreal's Andrei Markov scored a first-period goal in the All-Star game for the East.
Washington is 10-11-4 on the road this season.
Montreal has been streaking itself lately, as Thursday's 4-3 victory over New Jersey was the club's second straight win overall and sixth in its past eight games.
The Canadiens are second in the Northeast Division, just six points back of first place Ottawa.
Bryan Smolinski scored twice for the Habs, while Chris Higgins' power-play tally with 5:29 left capped a three-goal third period that helped Montreal end a 10-game winless skid in New Jersey.
Mike Komisarek had two assists for Montreal, while Saku Koivu also scored and Cristobal Huet stopped 10 shots.
Huet is 4-1-0 with a 1.78 goals-against average in last five starts and is 5-2-0 with 2.46 GAA in seven career games versus the Capitals.
The Habs are 9-8-5 as the host team this year, and following this home-and- home set, return home to begin a four-game residency on Saturday.
Montreal and Washington have split two games so far this year, with each team winning once on foreign ice. The Canadiens have won six of the last eight in the series and five of their last seven against the Caps as the host.
01/29 11:11:15 ET