The Montreal Canadiens and the Washington Capitals will both be gunning for a victory on Saturday when they meet at Verizon Center.
Montreal Canadiens vs. Washington Capitals
When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, December 17, 2016
Where: Verizon Center, Washington, District Of Columbia
|57||MONTREAL||0 (-110)||5 (-110)||130
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NHL Network, TVAS, CITY (Montreal), CSN Mid-Atlantic (Washington)
PREDICTION: Capitals 4, Canadiens 2
Oddsmakers currently have the Capitals listed as 135-moneyline favorites versus the Canadiens, while the game’s total is sitting at 5.
WASHINGTON — The Washington Capitals go for their seventh straight win Saturday night against a Montreal Canadiens team looking to avoid a third straight loss.
T.J. Oshie scored the tying goal in the third period and added one of Washington’s two shootout scores as the Capitals (19-7-3) won at Carolina, 4-3 on Friday night for their sixth win a row.
It was Oshie’s 37th career shootout goal and his third-period tally was his 10th of the season. Oshie missed seven games with an upper-body injury — during which time the Capitals went 3-3-1 — and Washington’s winning streak coincides with his return.
“He’s a big part of our team. There’s no question,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz told the Washington Post. “We missed his ability on the power play. He’s one of the best on that diamond spot. Just what he brings to the team all over, energy and just his personality and all that.”
That power play clicking once again. The Capitals have scored a power-play goal in six of their last seven games and have scored 13 in their last 14 games. Alex Ovechkin scored with the man advantage Friday night, his 14th goal of the season.
The Canadiens fell behind 4-0 to the San Jose Sharks at home Friday night before scoring twice in the third period of a 4-2 loss.
“We know we have to be better, play with more urgency early on, stay out of the box and roll four lines,” Montreal’s Max Pacioretty said. “Just dug too big of a hole to dig ourselves out of.”
Montreal (19-7-4) got third-period goals from Brian Flynn and Jeff Petry.
“It’s unacceptable,” Canadiens defenseman Nathan Beaulieu said of the slow start. “But I liked the way we finished, and we’ve got to carry that over to (Saturday) in Washington.”
Goalie Carey Price allowed four goals on 18 shots before being replaced by Al Montoya, who had been slated to start versus Washington. It was the first time since Oct. 13, 2014 that Price was pulled from a game.
Coach Michel Therrien announced after the game that Price would now get the start against the Capitals.
“Pricey didn’t get pulled because he wasn’t good enough,” Beaulieu said. “He’s the best player in the world and he’s our best player. It had nothing to do with him — it was us. Sometimes we need a wake-up call.”
Back-up Philipp Grubauer was in goal Friday for Washington, and Braden Holtby will start against the Canadiens. He’s 8-0-2 in 11 games against them with a 1.60 goals against average and a .944 save percentage.
Ovechkin has 22 goals and 18 assists in 39 games versus Montreal.
Justin Williams also scored for Washington against the Hurricanes. After scoring two goals in 23 games, he has five goals in his last five games.
“Yes, the last few games we’ve won, but we’ve just played better,” Williams added. “And we didn’t give up when some calls didn’t go our way. That’s just the way it is sometimes and you have to battle through it. I love the way we persevered.”
Price is 5-9-4 in 18 games versus Washington with a 3.08 GAA and .898 save percentage.
Montreal winger Andrew Shaw was a late scratch Friday, as the team announced he would miss the game with concussion-like symptoms that developed late Thursday afternoon. He won’t make the trip to Washington.
Canadiens winger Sven Andrighetto left the game against San Jose in the first period with an upper-body injury and did not return. He was also ruled out for Saturday’s game, leading the Canadiens to call up forward Chris Terry from the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps after the game.