NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, February 20th
(All times eastern)
Washington Capitals (23-27-9) at Montreal Canadiens (30-25-6), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Montreal Canadiens will try to post back-to-back wins
for the first time in a month as they welcome the Washington Capitals for
tonight's showdown at the Bell Centre.
The Canadiens ended a six-game losing streak Sunday by posting a 3-2 victory
in Columbus. Jaroslav Halak made 31 saves in his NHL debut to guide Montreal
to the close win at Nationwide Arena. Saku Koivu, Michael Ryder and Francis
Bouillon all scored for the Canadiens.
Halak was called into action after Cristobal Huet suffered a hamstring tear in
Montreal's 5-2 loss at New Jersey on Wednesday. Huet had surgery to repair the
tear on Sunday and will be out indefinitely.
Montreal has fallen into a tie with Toronto and the New York Islanders for the
eighth and final postseason berth in the Eastern Conference. All three teams
have 66 points on the year.
The Capitals have lost three straight games and are coming off a close defeat
in Pittsburgh on Sunday. Mark Recchi, Evgeni Malkin and Maxime Talbot
registered goals as Sidney Crosby's Penguins outlasted Alexander Ovechkin and
the Caps by a 3-2 count.
Crosby finished with only an assist and Ovechkin went without a point, a bit
of an anti-climactic outcome to the anticipated duel between the NHL's top two
Richard Zednik and Alexander Semin had the goals for Washington, while Brent
Johnson finished with 23 stops.
Ovechkin, who leads Washington in goals (34) and assists (38), has gone two
straight games without a point and has just one goal and one helper over his
last seven tests.
The Capitals have dropped to 14th place in the East and are trailed only by
the Philadelphia Flyers.
Tonight marks the end of a three-game road trip for Washington, which is just
9-15-5 away from D.C. this year and has lost six straight and 12 of its last
13 as the visitor.
Montreal and Washington have split a pair of meetings this year, but the Habs
have taken six of the last 10 matchups. The Capitals have also walked away
defeated in three of their last four trips to Montreal.
02/20 11:05:35 ET