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Canadiens vs. Capitals: Game preview, start time, Tale of the Tape, and how to watch

Montreal returns to the Bell Centre looking for a third consecutive win.

NHL: Washington Capitals at Montreal Canadiens Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Montreal Canadiens vs. Washington Capitals

How to watch

Start time: 7:30 PM EST / 4:30 PM PST
In Canada: TSN2 (English), RDS (French)
In the Capitals region: NBCSWA
Elsewhere: NHL.tv/Rogers NHL Live

The Montreal Canadiens started off a trip through Western Canada with a loss to the Edmonton Oilers. For a team that was already having difficulty stringing wins together, a 6-2 loss in which a beleaguered defence had no answer for Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl didn’t bode well for the remainder of the journey.

Carey Price returned to the crease a renewed player when the team took on the Calgary Flames on Thursday night. Two days later, he and his teammates boarded the plane to head home with consecutive wins versus the Flames and Vancouver Canucks, having allowed just four goals in the final two matches of a successful trip.

With that result, Montreal now sits fairly comfortably in a wild-card position, and can work on extending their lead on the teams ranking below.

Tale of the Tape

Canadiens Statistic Capitals
Canadiens Statistic Capitals
11-6-3 Record 9-7-3
1-0-0 H2H Record 0-1-0
52.1% (7th) Corsi-for pct. 47.9% (22nd)
64 (9th) Goals for 62 (12th)
65 (27th) Goals against 62 (24th)
13.5% (28th) PP% 29.0% (4th)
80.9% (14th) PK% 73.2% (29th)
OTL-W-L-W-W Form L-L-W-L-W

The team they see in the rearview mirror is the Washington Capitals, who are in an unfamiliar position after racking up division wins in the last decade. They haven’t been able to follow up their Stanley Cup win with a great start, positioned outside the playoff picture.

The breathing room the Canadiens enjoy on the Capitals was earned in their first meeting of the season. Montreal outproduced the Capitals, scoring six goals to the visitors’ four, to come out on the right end of the four-point game.

In that contest on November 1, the Canadiens saw a two-goal lead become a one-goal deficit. Two goals from Alex Ovechkin and another pair from former-Hab Lars Eller had the Capitals in position to leave the Bell Centre with a win. But the third period belonged to Montreal, as first Jesperi Kotkaniemi tied the game with his second goal of the night, then Max Domi scored the winner in the final minute. Domi’s goal served as the first of the two quickest goals by one team in NHL history as Joel Armia hit an empty net two seconds later.

A tough start to the season hasn’t really affected the Capitals’ main offensive talents. Alex Ovechkin is still easily on pace to notch 50 goals, with 13 in 19 games, while Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov are headed toward 90-point campaigns. Even John Carlson is contributing more than he did before finishing fifth in Norris Trophy voting last season.

The biggest difference affecting the Capitals’ record is that they’ve given up more goals this season; just as many as they’ve scored, in fact, which is no easy feat considering the superstars listed above.

Things are beginning to come around for them, however. After allowing at least four goals seven times in their first 12 games, they’ve only surrendered four one time in the their past seven. Opponents have scored two or fewer goals in five of those seven games, and that group includes the high-powered Colorado Avalanche from the Capitals’ last game on Saturday.

The storylines are similar for the two teams that will face off tonight. Each has been able to rely on prolific scorers (you need to apply that label to Max Domi given the consistency he’s shown in his time in Montreal) while they work out some kinks on the defensive side. They’re close in the standings, they were even through 59 minutes of play in their first meeting, and you can expect it to be another evenly matched game tonight in Montreal.