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MTL@WSH: Following the blueprint

The Canadiens will be looking back to their November 15 win in Washington as they try to halt their current five-game slide

by Pierre-Antoine Mercier, translated by Dan Braverman @CanadiensMTL /

WASHINGTON - Claude Julien's troops know exactly the kind of game they need to play against the Capitals.

The Canadiens have committed their November 15 game in Washington to memory. The Habs played a near-perfect game that night, scoring four goals in the middle frame on their way to a convincing 5-2 win.

Julien made mention of the victory at Thursday's morning skate.

"We talked about it this morning. We did some good things. It's too bad, because it was in that game that we lost two players for a long time," outlined the veteran bench boss in reference to the Jonathan Drouin and Paul Byron injuries. "It gives us the chance to play the same kind of game against a team that is also hungry. It's going to be a good test for us."

Video: Claude Julien's pregame press conference

Montreal should be able to count on Brendan Gallagher's return after the winger missed Tuesday night's game in Detroit with a lower-body injury.

"There's a good chance he'll play tonight. We'll need to make a decision before the game. There are still a few small things to work out," explained Julien during his pregame media availability. "It's looking more positive than negative when it comes to Gallagher."

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Gally 👊#GoHabsGo

For his part, defenseman Victor Mete did not take part in Thursday's morning skate at Capital One Arena and won't be able to face the Caps.

The 21-year-old defenseman left Tuesday's game against the Red Wings after blocking a shot with his skate and Julien provided an update on his situation, as well.

"The X-rays that were taken in Detroit didn't show any fractures, but it doesn't mean it's not the case," mentioned the Canadiens coach. "That's why we should have more details when we get back to Montreal."

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Claude Julien confirme qu���il y a de bonnes chances que Gallagher soit en uniforme ce soir. Mete sera absent.Claude Julien says there's a good chance Gallagher will be in the lineup tonight. Mete won't play.#GoHabsGo

Countering Ovechkin

Julien's charges will have to keep an eye on the Capitals' No. 8 tonight.

Alex Ovechkin is still two goals away from 700 in the NHL. The 34-year-old Russian is in the midst of his worst stretch of the season, having not been able to light the lamp in five games despite firing 27 shots on goal in that span.

The Habs will have to put together a solid team effort if they want to contain the Capitals' sniper.

"The whole team will have to contribute if we want to hold him in check. Still, we shouldn't change our game. We have to be strong defensively, but we can't just focus on him," offered up Phillip Danault, who practiced without a full cage for the first time. "We have to watch him on the power play. We know that's his strength."

Video: Phillip Danault on the need to contain Ovechkin

In order to succeed, the Canadiens will have to stay disciplined. Ovechkin has scored 12 of his 40 goals this season with the man advantage.

"He's a sniper. He's excellent on the power play. We have to be aware whenever he's on the ice. It's very difficult to contain his shot and he's good at finding openings. He's not one of the top goal-scorers in the League year after year for nothing," shared Tomas Tatar. "At the same time, we have to play our system. We were able to do it earlier this season in this arena. We should be able to do it again."

Video: Tomas Tatar on facing the Capitals

The Canadiens face the Capitals starting at 7:00 p.m. at Capital One Arena.

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