Montreal Canadiens @ Washington Capitals
How to watch
Start time: 7:00 PM EDT / 4:00 PM PDT
In Canada: CityTV, Sportsnet East (English), TVA Sports (French)
In the Capitals region: NBC Sports Washington
Streaming: ESPN+, Sportsnet Now
Looking to start the season with consecutive wins, the Canadiens soon discovered last night that the Detroit Red Wings were playing with more cohesive five-man units than the Toronto Maple Leafs had two days earlier. The Habs exploited some sloppy defence and undisciplined positioning on Wednesday in the season-opener, but Detroit wasn’t making those errors. The result was a completely overwhelmed Canadiens club that allowed 25 shots in the opening 20 minutes.
Jake Allen’s incredible play in the net allowed them to get a reprieve in the first intermission without having allowed a goal, but it was clear that whatever game plan they had going into the contest wasn’t going to work against this much improved Red Wings team.
After making some adjustments, the Habs looked more competitive in the final 40 minutes, holding their opponent to 15 shots the rest of the way and generating several high-quality chances of their own, but they couldn’t solve Ville Husso, and Elmer Soderblom’s goal early in the third period stood up as the winner.
Montreal is right back at it tonight in Washington versus a winless Capitals team.
Tale of the Tape
|40.5% (26th)||Scoring-chances-for %||43.7% (26th)|
|2.00 (22nd)||Goals per game||2.00 (22n)|
|3.00 (14th)||Goals against per game||4.00 (23rd)|
|0.0% (23rd)||PP%||0.0% (23rd)|
|100.0% (1st)||PK%||66.7% (21st)|
|0-3-0||H2H Record (21-22)||3-0-0|
Washington started its season with a 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins, then fell to the Maple Leafs the next night to begin their season 0-2. Alexander Ovechkin has yet to score this season, and Nic Dowd is the team’s leading scorer with one goal and one assist.
The Capitals are currently found in a state of transition with many forwards in the last year of their contracts, while John Carlson is the only defenceman signed beyond this year. The organization seems to be hoping for one more playoff run out of the current group before significant change in the off-season.
They have taken one step for their future by signing goaltender Darcy Kuemper to a medium-term deal at $5.25 million per season. He was the goalie in net for that opening 5-2 loss, so it wasn’t much of a first impression he made on his new team, but he and the team will be expecting more the rest of the way.
Like the Canadiens, the Capitals aren’t beginning the season with the lineup they put together in the off-season. Tom Wilson and Carl Hagelin are out, and Nicklas Backstrom is on Long-Term Injured Reserve after undergoing hip resurfacing surgery. That’s three significant sources off offence missing from their lineup, which might make up for Montreal’s missing players on the blue line.
The Habs will hope that Kaiden Guhle isn’t added to that list after he missed about a full period’s worth of action last night. The Canadiens would be playing without all three of the of their top left-side options if he couldn’t go, which would be a tough situation even versus a decimated Capitals offence. Corey Schueneman is back with the team to fill in if needed.
Based on the report from today’s optional morning skate, Jonathan Drouin could be making his season debut after sitting out the first two games, taking Rem Pitlick’s spot in the formation. We will learn what lineup Martin St-Louis will be running with when he speaks to the media at 5:00 PM Eastern.