Skip to main content


Capitals-Canadiens Preview @NHL
Capitals-Canadiens Preview

GAME: Washington Capitals (7-12-0) at Montreal Canadiens (13-4-3).

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.

Highly touted rookie Alexander Ovechkin has been one of the few bright spots lately for the Washington Capitals.

The Capitals look to post a rare road win as they visit the Northeast Division-leading Montreal Canadiens.

Ovechkin leads all NHL rookies with 15 goals, six more than Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, the top pick from the 2005 draft.

Ovechkin - selected first overall in the 2004 draft - had a goal and an assist in the Capitals 8-5 loss Thursday to the Buffalo Sabres.

The 20-year-old left wing has scored in five of his last six games and leads the Capitals in goals and points.

Washington, however, has lost four of its last five games and fell to 1-8 on the road with Thursday's defeat.The Capitals also have been outscored 21-14 in their last four losses.

"You have to give yourself a chance to win and we didn't do that," captain Jeff Halpern said. "We had a lot of defensive breakdowns and some bad reads."

Goalie Olaf Kolzig has missed Washington's last four games with a hamstring injury. Brent Johnson, who has made three consecutive starts, made 19 saves on Thursday.

The Canadiens lost for the third time in four games, falling 5-3 Friday to the New Jersey Devils.

The defeat ended a string of seven straight one-goal decisions for Montreal, which had won five in a row before a shootout loss to Nov. 10 to the Pittsburgh Penguins and an overtime defeat Saturday to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Still, Montreal is tied with the Carolina Hurricanes for the Eastern Conference lead.

"We got behind the eight-ball with a couple of penalties that were costly," coach Claude Julien said. "Our penalty kill wasn't very good. With the new rules and everything being called, your special teams have to be at their best. Ours weren't and that made the difference."

Friday's loss was the first in regulation on the road for the Canadiens.

Jan Bulis returned after missing four games with a left shoulder injury, but did not record a point. He has six career goals against the Capitals.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 18): Capitals - 14 points, 5th place, 15 PB, Southeast Division. Canadiens - 29 points, 1st place, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Capitals - Ovechkin, 15 goals and 21 points; Steve Eminger and Halpern, 10 assists; Brendan Witt, 64 PIM. Canadiens - Michael Ryder and Saku Koivu, 8 goals; Koivu, 17 assists and 25 points; Steve Begin, 45 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 18): Capitals - Power play: 12.1 percent (13 for 107), 29th in NHL. Penalty killing: 77.5 percent (114 for 147), 28th. Canadiens - Power play: 19.6 percent (25 for 127), 8th. Penalty killing: 80.9 percent (106 for 131), 19th (tied).

GOALTENDERS: Capitals - Kolzig (6-7-0, 3.78 GAA); Johnson (1-4-0, 5.34). Canadiens - Jose Theodore (10-4-3, 3.02); Yann Danis (3-0-0, 1 SO, 1.87).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Canadiens, 3-1.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 4, 2004; Canadiens, 4-1. At Montreal, Ryder had two goals and an assist for the Canadiens, who outshot the Capitals 34-20.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Capitals - 1-8-0 on the road; Canadiens - 7-3-1 at home.

Associated Press

View More