Nov. 15 vs. Montreal Canadiens at Capital One Arena
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Radio: Capitals Radio 24/7, 106.7 FAN
Washington Capitals 14-2-4
Montreal Canadiens 10-5-3
A busy stretch of the schedule continues for the Caps when they host the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night in the District. The visit is the first of two for the Canadiens this season; they'll be back in Washington again on Feb. 20.
The Caps are in the thick of a stretch in which they play three games in four nights, four in six, five in eight, and six in 10. There is a fair amount of travel involved; the Caps alternate home and road contests during this span, playing three each at home and on the road.
After a 4-3 shootout loss to Arizona in Washington on Monday, the Caps earned a 2-1 shootout win over the Flyers in Philadelphia on Wednesday. Immediately following Friday's game with the Habs, the Caps are off to Boston where they will finish a set of back-to-back games against the Bruins on Saturday night in Beantown.
Washington returns home to host Anaheim on Monday night, and then takes to the road once again to take on the Rangers on Wednesday night in New York. That's when the schedule eases up just a bit, and the Caps will be able to enjoy a three-game homestand over Thanksgiving week.
Wednesday's win in Philadelphia pushes the Caps' point streak to 13 straight (11-0-2), which is just two games shy of the franchise record established nearly a decade ago when they rolled up a 14-0-1 mark in a 15-game span just ahead of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.
The last time the Caps played a game that didn't result in them earning at least a point was more than a month ago, in a 6-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche here in DC on Oct. 14. Washington started a four-game winning streak two nights later with a win over Toronto, and it had a six-game winning run from Oct. 25-Nov. 9.
In the win over the Flyers, Brendan Leipsic staked Washington to an early 1-0 lead with his second goal of the season. For the first time in 2019-20, the Capitals went scoreless in the second period, but they held the Flyers at bay and nursed a 1-0 lead into the third, also for the first time this season.
Washington held that 1-0 lead for more than 40 minutes, but Philly nicked the Caps for a game-tying power-play goal in the third. Both goaltenders were at the top of their game, and Philly's Carter Hart made some stellar stops late as the Caps made several strong bids for the go-ahead goal late in regulation.
In overtime, the Caps and goalie Braden Holtby endured a stretch of more than three minutes in their own end and without the puck, and Washington prevailed in overtime. After the win, Caps coach Todd Reirden was asked what gave him the belief that his team would find a way to win.
"I think the talk on our bench," says Reirden, "I think it's really important, the things that are said on our bench. I think as a coach you get a good read for how your team is going to play when they go on for each shift with the things that are being said. It's encouraging who's going to get the next goal for us. No one is slamming doors and breaking sticks. It's just, let's see who's gonna do it, believe in what we're doing, believe in our system, believe in the guy next to us. Who's gonna be the guy that puts over the hump tonight?
"It was a combination of things tonight. Through 20 games, that's the thing I'm the proudest of our team. Playing through every game, good, bad. We've been ahead in games and lost the lead, we've been behind in games and come back. Finding ways to gather points and be proud of our record after 20 games."
Montreal occupies second place in the NHL's Atlantic Division as it hits town on Friday. After winning only two of their first six games (2-2-2), the Canadiens are 8-3-1 since. They are coming into the District on the heels of a two-game homestand sweep, with the victories coming over Los Angeles and Columbus, respectively, wins that extended their Bell Centre winning streak to four.
The Habs have also been playing well on the road of late, where they've picked up points in three of their last four games (2-1-1). Like the Capitals, the Canadiens are playing the front end of a set of back-to-back games on Friday night. The Habs return home on Saturday, where they'll host the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.
Carey Price has had the net in each of Montreal's last five games, going 3-1-1. He is expected to be in net on Friday in Washington, with backup Keith Kinkaid getting Saturday's starting assignment against his former Devils teammates.