Skip to main content

Caps wrap up trip back in Montreal

by John Kreiser
CAPITALS (43-22-10) at CANADIENS (40-28-7)


Last 10 --
Washington 8-2-0; Montreal 5-5-0

Season series -- It's the last of four games between the teams, and the Caps' second trip to the Bell Centre in 11 days. Washington opened its six-game road trip in Montreal on March 25 with a 4-2 victory. The Capitals have won two of the three meetings this season.

Big story -- The Caps will try to finish their road trip on a high note after a disappointing 2-0 loss at Ottawa on Friday. The Canadiens need a big effort to wash away the taste of Thursday's 7-0 demolition in Boston, their worst performance of the season. The Caps are chasing Philadelphia for the top spot in the East, while the sixth-place Canadiens are working to ensure a trip to the playoffs.

Team Scope:

Capitals -- Friday's game was proof positive that you can never take anything for granted in the NHL. The Caps, with two days of rest, visited last-place Ottawa, which had gone to a shootout the night before in New York -- and were shut out.

The only good news was the return of injured goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who made 21 saves after being pressed into action when Michal Neuvirth got sick before the game.

"Coaches can adjust. I just don't know how much it throws the players off," coach Bruce Boudreau said of the last-minute change. "(If) guys get sick, guys get sick. There's not much you can do about it - just put the other guy in. I thought (Varlamov) did good for his first game in a month."

Canadiens -- The Habs held a team meeting Friday to refocus after being demolished in every aspect of the game in Boston.

"Maybe it's a good thing. Maybe it's a reality check for us," rookie defenseman P.K. Subban said. "Anybody that was watching saw we didn't have the spark that we wanted and the intensity wasn't there. We have to use this to our advantage. We know we've played better than that this season and we have to get back to playing that style of hockey."

Who's hot --
Both teams are coming off shutout losses -- back-to-back blankings in the Canadiens' case. Neuvirth has won his last two starts, allowing four goals, and has set a Caps rookie record with 24 wins.

Injury report --
The Caps have played their last two games without captain Alex Ovechkin, who's out until next week with an undisclosed injury. They're also without defensemen Mike Green (concussion) and Tom Poti (groin). ... Montreal will be without forward Max Pacioretty (concussion) and defensemen Josh Gorges (knee) and Andrei Markov (knee) for the rest of the season. Another defenseman, Jaroslav Spacek, is recovering from a knee injury and might be back before the end of the regular season.

Stat pack -- The shutout in Ottawa marked the 10th time the Caps have been blanked this season. … The Canadiens have been shut out by Buffalo (2-0) and Boston (7-0) after their biggest offensive explosion of the season, an 8-1 win at Minnesota last Sunday.

Puck drop -- The theme at practice in Montreal on Friday was turning the page after the beating in Boston.

"We're not worrying or being too negative, but trying to be more to be aware of the changes that need to be made. There are only a few games left in the season and it does no good to overanalyze things at this point. It's time to let it all hang out and let things evolve from there," forward Michael Cammalleri said.

"The message was, above all, that we needed to work on the things we discussed and turn the page. The details of what we talked about stays with the team."

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.