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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Saturday, December 13th (All times eastern)

Washington Capitals (17-10-3) at Montreal Canadiens (16-7-5), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens will cap a franchise-record seven- game homestand this evening when they welcome Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals to the Bell Centre.

The Habs have gone 4-1-1 so far on the residency, but have dropped two of their last three games. The Canadiens are 9-3-3 as the host team this season.

Montreal's latest setback came Thursday evening against the lowly Tampa Bay Lightning, who ended a nine-game losing streak with a 3-1 decision. Martin St. Louis scored twice to lead the Lightning to the triumph at the Bell Centre.

Patrice Brisebois scored on the power play in the first period for the Canadiens.

Jaroslav Halak made 19 saves in defeat as he started in place of No. 1 netminder Carey Price, who served as the backup despite battling the flu.

Price, who is 13-4-4 this year, isn't expected to start tonight and may not even be able to dress, in which case Marc Denis will take over reserve goaltending duties.

Montreal captain Saku Koivu left Thursday's game with a lower body injury and didn't play in the third period. Koivu, who has 22 points this year, is expected to miss tonight's game.

Meanwhile, the Capitals were in action on Friday and rolled to a 5-1 decision over visiting Ottawa. Alex Ovechkin had a pair of goals to lead Washington to the rout at the Verizon Center and now has 17 markers on the season.

Mike Green finished the game with a goal and two assists while Brent Johnson made 32 saves for the Capitals, who have won two straight and four of their last five games.

In an interesting side note to the game, Washington goaltender Jose Theodore suffered a hip flexor injury in the morning skate, so the team signed their Web site producer, Brett Leonhardt, to an amateur contract tryout and he dressed as the backup.

The 26-year-old Leonhardt played two years for Oswego State in New York and two years for Neumann College in Pennsylvania before graduating in 2007. He has worked for the Capitals' Web site for about a year and has taken part in drills during practices when the team needed an extra goaltender.

Simeon Varlamov was recalled from Hershey of the AHL prior to Friday's game, but the goaltender didn't arrive until the second period. Varlamov will serve as the backup to Johnson tonight.

Also, Green and center Sergei Fedorov made their return to the lineup. Green had missed the past 12 games with a shoulder injury while Fedorov had missed 16 of the last 17 with a sprained ankle.

Washington is just 5-9-2 as the visiting team this year and is playing two straight and four of its next five tests on the road.

The Caps earned a 3-0 home victory over the Habs on November 28 and have won two straight and three of the last four meetings between the clubs. Washington has been defeated in four of its previous five stops in Quebec.

12/13 10:49:01 ET

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