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

Montreal looks to end 2022 on a high note.

Montreal Canadiens v Florida Panthers Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Montreal Canadiens @ Washington Capitals

How to watch

Start time: **4:00 PM EST / 1:00 PM PST**
In Canadiens: Sportsnet (English), TVA Sports (French)
In the Capitals region: NBC Sports Washington

The season keeps trudging along and the losses keep piling up for the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs (15-18-3) dropped their back-to-back contests in Florida earlier this week, dropping a 4-1 tilt to the Tampa Bay Lightning Wednesday night, followed by a 7-2 walloping the next night against the Florida Panthers.

The team finds itseld 1-3-1 on this current road swing, having not won since December 19, a 3-2 overtime win in Arizona. Their opponent Saturday afternoon won’t be easy competition either, as they face Alexander Ovechkin, his 803 career NHL goals, and the rest of the Washington Capitals squad.

Tale of the Tape

Canadiens Statistics Capitals
Canadiens Statistics Capitals
15-18-3 Record 20-13-5
44.35% (26th) Scoring-chances-for % 50.92% (13th)
2.61 (28th) Goals per game 3.11 (17th)
3.58 (26th) Goals against per game 2.74 (10th)
14.9% (32nd) PP% 21.0% (21st)
75.4% (22nd) PK% 81.8% (8th)
0-1-0 H2H Record 1-0-0

The Capitals (20-13-5) are red-hot of late, with a record of 10-2-2 in the month of December alone. They had a five-game winning streak halted in their last contest, a 4-3 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators. They held a 3-1 lead before the Senators clawed back and Alex DeBrincat’s second of the game sealed the deal in the extra frame.

Ovechkin did score his 23rd of the season in the contest. The Great 8, who recently surpassed Hall of Famer Gordie Howe for second all-time in goals with his 802nd, is currently tied for fourth in the league for goals, in his 18th season.

Montreal, on the other hand, can’t seem to find a rhythm, and their team play isn’t clicking. With captain Nick Suzuki only having one goal in his last 11 games, he recently called out head coach Martin St. Louis and the rest of his team earlier this week.

There was one positive takeaway from the night in Sunrise, and one negative. The positive was that the Habs’ power play was able to work together and score two with the man advantage, something the team has been struggling with all season and find themselves in dead last in that department.

The negative was a giant hit to their blue line as rookie standout Kaiden Guhle, who has been leading the team in average ice time, had an awkward fall with Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov, landing badly on his leg. He left the game and did not return, and has officially been ruled out for Saturday’s contest. There is no official timetable for his return.

Samuel Montembeault, a former Florida draft pick was hung out to dry in the loss, making 34 saves in the tough defeat, and dropping his record to 6-4-2 on the year.

Washington has been resilient all season despite missing some key offensive players. T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom, and Tom Wilson have all been out for most, if not all season for the Capitals. They also lost all-star defenceman John Carlson for an extended period of time earlier this week. The Capitals received word that both Backstrom and Wilson have resumed skating in full-contact jerseys and should be returning to the lineup soon. Hopefully not by tomorrow against Montreal....

Between the pipes for them is Darcy Kuemper, who helped lead the Colorado Avalanche last spring to their first Stanley Cup since 2001 and then signed a multi-year deal with the Capitals in the summer. Their backup is a familiar face for Canadiens fans: Charlie Lindgren, the undrafted goaltender who played 24 career games in the Tricolore from 2015 to 2020. Kuemper and Lindgren have each gotten 10 wins this season, and for the latter, that’s a career high.

Hopefully Montreal can bring some offence to the rink tomorrow night, cause there’s no time like the present to kick off 2023 on a winning note.