How to watch
Start time: 7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST
In the Canadiens region: TSN2 (English), RDS (French)
In the US: NBCSN
In the Capitals region: NBC Sports Washington
Streaming: NHL.tv/NHL Live
Against all odds, the Montreal Canadiens managed to drop a fourth game — all regulation defeats — versus the Detroit Red Wings this season. The Habs got out to a good start on Tuesday night, and it looked like they’d prevent the sweep at the very least, but they struggled once again to hold on to a lead. In a season defined by its long losing streaks, the current one now sits at five. At this point, the results of the games are becoming moot. Even in a playoff race that no team is running away, this current Canadiens team struggles to gain footing on even the firmest ground.
The result on Tuesday was certainly disappointing, but watching Nick Suzuki in the offensive zone, acting as both quarterback and finisher on the power play, was certainly the lastest chapter in one of the more encouraging stories of the season. Like just about every player on the team, there’s work to be done on the defensive side of things, but he’ll address that area as the season goes on — and hopefully Marc Bergevin will, too.
While rumours of interest swirl around the league leading up to Monday’s trade deadline, there are still two games to play before then. Suzuki won’t be one of the players on the move, but we could be seeing the last game from a player or two who have been peforming in Montreal all season long when they head to Capital One Arena to face the Washington Capitals.
Tale of the Tape
|54.1% (3rd)||Corsi-for pct.||52.0% (7th)|
|2.95 (18th)||Goals per game||3.47 (4th)|
|3.08 (17th)||Goals against per game||3.02 (15th)|
|19.6% (18th)||PP%||20.7% (14th)|
|79.1% (20th)||PK%||83.9% (4th)|
Washington is in the opposite position with the final day to make trades approaching. They’ve already made one addition, acquiring defenceman Brenden Dillon from the San Jose Sharks to help on the back end. They don’t have a lot of cap space left to bolster the team, but there’s room for a bottom-six forward, and they’ll surely be keeping a close eye on Montreal’s rentals.
There have been reports of interest in Nate Thompson to give them a boost at the centre position. Having a valuable player who is good in all three zones, Bergevin is probably going to wait as long as possible to evaluate all the available offers, but the Capitals remain one of the top options.
Ilya Kovalchuk is of course the biggest rental option available. Getting held pointless in his past five games won’t be helping to alleviate concerns from other general managers that his start in Montreal was an anomaly. Whether the Habs trade him or hope to re-sign him, more displays of his offensive skill are something everyone will be cheering for.
The display fans of the Capitals are interested in, and perhaps most hockey fans in general, is Alex Ovechkin’s goal-scoring prowess. The pressure of hitting the 700-goals milestone seems to be getting to the man who may go down as the best scorer in history. After six multi-goal games in a span of just 10 contests, he hasn’t found the back of the net in the past five.
The winger hasn’t enjoyed quite as much success playing Montreal as he has versus Tampa Bay or Winnipeg, but he’s still scored his fair share of goals on Carey Price over the years, netting 32 in 49 games.
While he may not be getting the pucks to go in, it’s not for a lack of trying. Over this five-game slump he’s blasted a puck off a goaltender 27 times. A player with a shot as dangerous as his isn’t going to be shut down for long, and it’s only a matter of time before he resumes his trek up the leaderboard.