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Game Preview: Canadiens vs. Capitals

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

CANADIENS (31-13-3) VS. CAPITALS (25-14-9)

The Canadiens will kick off their traditional set of back-to-back Super Bowl weekend games when they play host to the Washington Capitals at the Bell Centre on Saturday afternoon.

Michel Therrien’s troops will go in search of a fifth straight victory after besting the New York Rangers 1-0 on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. Max Pacioretty scored the game-winning tally with less than five minutes remaining in the third period. It was his 22nd goal of the season. It was also the Canadiens’ first regulation-time win in Manhattan since October 28, 2013. True to form, Carey Price stopped every shot fired in his direction. The Anahim Lake, BC native made 24 saves to pick up his 26th win and third shutout of the 2014-15 campaign.

For their part, the Capitals got back on track in their most recent outing, posting a 4-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday. That snapped Washington’s four-game losing streak. Alex Ovechkin led the way, scoring his 28th and 29th goals of the season, while Braden Holtby picked up his 23rd win of the year by recording his fifth shutout. He sits second in the league in that department among all NHL goaltenders.

The Canadiens have struggled against the Capitals at the Bell Centre in recent years. Therrien’s squad hasn’t registered a win over Washington in regular season play since February 10, 2010, going 0-7-0 during that span. The Habs did, however, post a 2-1 shootout win over Ovechkin & Co. back in October.

Following practice on Friday, the Canadiens' bench boss confirmed that Price would get the start in goal against the Capitals on Saturday afternoon. It will be his fourth consecutive start. Washington will likely counter with Braden Holtby between the pipes. Therrien, however, did not indicate if he would be featuring any lineup changes from the tilt against New York up front or on the back end.

This year will mark the 24th time in team history that the Canadiens will be playing back-to-back afternoon tilts on Super Bowl weekend. The Habs boast an 11-8-3-1 record on Saturdays during the NFL's top weekend.

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