Washington at Montreal
When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, March 24, 2018
Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec
The Washington Capitals look to continue their surge and solidify their position at the top of the Metropolitan Division when they visit the struggling Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. The Capitals have won six of their last seven after Thursday’s 1-0 victory at Detroit and lead rival Pittsburgh by three points with eight games remaining as they attempt to win a third straight division title.
“This was a huge win at this point in the season,” Washington coach Barry Trotz told reporters after Thursday’s triumph as Philipp Grubauer made 39 saves. “As close as things are in our division, we can’t let any points get away.” The Capitals hope to get second-leading scorer Evgeny Kuznetsov, who has missed three games with an arm injury, back as soon as Saturday when they take on a Canadiens team that officially has been eliminated from playoff contention. Montreal showed a little life Friday with a 3-0 victory over Buffalo as Antti Niemi turned aside 35 shots for his first shutout of the season. Former Hart and Vezina Trophy winner Carey Price, who made 34 saves Wednesday in his first start in nearly a month due to a concussion, could be back in net but is 6-12-4 lifetime against Washington.TV:
7 p.m. ET, NHL Network, NBCS Washington, Sportsnet, TVA (Montreal)ABOUT THE CAPITALS (43-24-7):
With former Vezina Trophy winner Braden Holtby struggling and now considered day-to-day with a knee injury, Grubauer has lifted his play - posting a .944 save percentage over his last 13 games. “He was a No. 1 goalie in the minors and he’s been a backup to a guy who has been a Vezina Trophy finalist the last couple years,” Trotz told reporters regarding Grubauer. “He’s been learning and getting better, and now he has stepped up to become someone who can win games for us.” Captain Alex Ovechkin has collected four goals and five assists over his last six games and leads the team with 81 points - 10 more than Kuznetsov.ABOUT THE CANADIENS (27-36-12):
Brendan Gallagher, who scored his career-high and team-leading 27th goal into an empty net on Friday, is slated to make his 400th appearance in the NHL on Saturday. Alex Galchenyuk notched his club-best 29th assist against Buffalo to remain one point behind Gallagher with 45. Jonathan Drouin has recorded six of his 39 points in the last seven games while Paul Byron scored his 18th goal on Friday, putting him four away from the career high he set last season and moving him past captain Max Pacioretty for second on the team in 2017-18.OVERTIME
1. The teams have split a pair of meetings in Washington this season, with the Canadiens winning the most recent one 3-2 on Jan. 19.
2. Washington signed LW Shane Gersich on Friday, and the 2014 fifth-round draft pick has joined the team in Montreal.
3. Montreal is 0-for-11 on the power play over its last four games after going 4-for-6 in the previous two contests.PREDICTION:
Capitals 4, Canadiens 2
Stats and Records