CAPITALS (17-5-1) @ CANADIENS (19-4-3)
TV: RDS, CITYM
The NHL leading Habs take on the Capitals, as two of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference meet Thursday night at the Bell Centre.
The Capitals present a tough challenge for Michel Therrien’s troops, as Barry Trotz’s club has won nine of their last eleven clashes between the two teams at the Bell Centre in Montreal. Furthermore, both defeats suffered by the Capitals occurred in overtime.
The Capitals, winners of their last five consecutive games, won their most recent game Saturday night in Toronto by the score of 4 to 2. The offensively loaded Capitals have scored a total of 21 goals during that stretch.
Evgeny Kuznetsov (8G-18A) continues to lead Washington in points, ahead of Alexander Ovechkin (12G-10A) by four points on the Capitals scoring list. Niklas Backstrom (8G-12A) sits in third place with 20 points in 20 games to maintain his point-per-game average.
Braden Holtby, who was recently named the NHL’s second star for the month of November, is expected to get the start in goal for the visitors.
In the Canadiens crease, Mike Condon earns his fourth straight start Thursday night. Condon previously faced the Capitals during the preseason earlier this year where he turned aside all of the 21 shots he faced.
Michel Therrien is expected to stick with the new trios he formed in the Canadiens last game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. David Desharnais will likely center a line of Max Pacioretty and Dale Weise, Tomas Plekanec will lineup in between Paul Byron and Tomas Fleischmann and Brian Flynn will slot in with Christian Thomas and Devante Smith-Pelly on his wings. The trio of Lars Eller, Alex Galchenyuk and Sven Andrighetto remains intact.
Last season, the Habs won the first two games against the Capitals before losing the third in a shootout.