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MTL@WSH: No changes to report against the Caps

Claude Julien confirms he'll go with the same lineup in Washington on Saturday as in Buffalo

by Steven Nechay @CanadiensMTL /

WASHINGTON -- Coming off a win to start the season in Buffalo on Thursday, Claude Julien will go with the same lineup on Saturday against the Capitals, including Carey Price in goal.

Torrey Mitchell, Brandon Davidson, Joe Morrow and David Schlemko will once again be the night's scratches, and the four were joined on the ice by Al Montoya on Saturday as the only players to hop on the ice at Capital One Arena.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Pas d'entra��nement ce matin �� WSH, seulement les extras sur la glace.No practice this morning in WSH, only extras on the ice.#GoHabsGo

The rest of the team benefitted from a morning off in D.C.

"It doesn't matter if it's early in the season. If you look at the schedule, it's tough enough as it is. It's three in four, and it's in three different cities, so you do what you think is best for the team," explained Julien, as the Habs will also head to New York to face the Rangers before returning to Montreal on Sunday night. "Everybody's in great shape, but I think the rest is important. It's about staying sharp, and yesterday we did some things to fine-tune our team. Tonight is when it really matters."

When it comes to fine-tuning, there's one area in particular the Habs bench boss hopes to see improvements in against Washington.

Video: Claude Julien's pregame press conference @ WSH

"Our breakouts had to be a little better, and I don't think everyone was in-sync in doing their jobs [against Buffalo]. We need to be a bit better [at our breakouts], because that's what gets our offence going," continued the 57-year-old. "We're still in the process of trying to improve as a team and get everyone on the same page. It just takes a little breakdown here or there to throw everything off, but we're no different than any other team. I've watched games on TV and there's a lot of that going on. The biggest thing is to continue working, and to improve ourselves as a group."

As with his lineup, Julien likewise isn't making any changes to his game plan as the team prepares to face a hot Alexander Ovechkin, who scored a hat trick in the Capitals season opener against Ottawa on Thursday.

"You have to respect what he is as a player. He's obviously a great goalscorer, and he showed that last game," acknowledged the veteran coach. "You've got to try to take time and space away from him -- like you do with a lot of other players -- but we never have a game plan tailored to one player. We might have specific players out there, but our game plan doesn't change."

Among the players tasked with containing Ovechkin will be Karl Alzner, who notably returns to The District for the first time as a Hab following nine seasons with the Capitals.

Video: Karl Alzner practices at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex

Game time is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at Capital One Arena, and will be broadcast on CITY and TVA Sports in Canada.

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