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Preview: Capitals at Canadiens

Washington forward Justin Williams will return after missing one game with lower-body injury; goalie Carey Price to start for Montreal

by Sean Farrell / NHL.com Correspondent

CAPITALS (34-11-6) at CANADIENS (30-15-7)

1 p.m. ET; SN, RDS, CSN-DC, NHL.TV

 

Capitals team scope

Washington Capitals forward Justin Williams will return Saturday after missing the 5-3 win against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday because of a lower-body injury, coach Barry Trotz said on Friday. Trotz told the Washington Post that Williams "got a little bit nicked up" during the 3-2 loss at the New York Islanders on Tuesday. "Each day it'll get better and it'll feel better," Williams told the Post on Friday. "And if it doesn't, then you've got problems. It felt good [Friday], better than it did [Thursday], and hopefully it feels better [Saturday] morning." The Capitals are 14-2-1 in their past 17 games and lead the NHL with 74 points in 51 games. Washington is 14-6-5 on the road, with six wins in the past nine games (6-2-1). Goalie Braden Holtby is 9-0-0 in his past 10 games. He has allowed 17 goals during that span, which includes three shutouts. His next shutout will be his 30th in the NHL.

 

Canadiens team scope

Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said goalie Carey Price will start Saturday in the first of two Super Bowl weekend matinee games at Bell Centre. The Canadiens have alternated wins and losses through their past seven games but have points in each of their past three home games (2-0-1). "We've got to be more consistent," defenseman Shea Weber said. "I'm sure every team's talking about it. You've got to find a way to keep that level, no lulls, and just keep playing at the level we did right after the break." The Canadiens are 3-2-1 in their past six games following a 3-1 loss at the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday. "I think everybody in here knows that that wasn't good enough," Weber said. "We've got the best team in the League coming in here so it's a good test for us and we've just got to be ready. We've got to be a lot better, and we know that."

 

Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Justin Williams

Brett Connolly -- Lars Eller -- Andre Burakovsky

Daniel Winnik -- Jay Beagle -- Tom Wilson

Karl Alzner -- John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik -- Nate Schmidt

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

Scratched: Taylor Chorney, Jakub Vrana

 

Canadiens projected lineup

Max Pacioretty -- Phillip Danault -- Alexander Radulov

David Desharnais -- Alex Galchenyuk -- Andrew Shaw

Artturi Lehkonen -- Tomas Plekanec -- Paul Byron

Sven Andrighetto -- Torrey Mitchell -- Brian Flynn

Alexei Emelin -- Shea Weber

Nathan Beaulieu -- Jeff Petry

Andrei Markov -- Nikita Nesterov

Carey Price

Al Montoya

Scratched: Greg Pateryn, Jacob De La Rose 

Injured: Brendan Gallagher (hand)

 

Status report

Vrana was recalled from Hershey of the American Hockey League on Friday. "He got a practice with us [Friday], which is good, and he gets to experience that whole being with us, and I think that makes him more comfortable if he does play," Trotz said. ... Carlson will play his 500th NHL game. ... Pacioretty needs two goals for 200 in the NHL. ... Therrien would not say which goalie would start against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.

 

Who's hot

Ovechkin has scored in three straight games and has points in 11 of his past 12 games (seven goals, 10 assists). … Kuznetsov has four goals and two assists during a three-game goal streak, and 22 points in 15 games (eight goals, 14 assists). … Backstrom has one goal and three assists in his past two games, and 21 points in 14 games (five goals, 16 assists). … Orlov has five points (two goals, three assists) in five games. ... Shaw has a goal and three assists in his past four games.

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