A rematch from November 1st tonight in Montreal, as the Washington Capitals and Canadiens meet again at Bell Centre. In the first clash, the Canadiens hit the Capitals with a 6-4 final in Montreal. So, it’s back to the same arena instead of a rematch in Washington. The Caps have been on the road since a November 13th contest against the Wild. They have played three games during that stretch, with two wins and a loss.
It hasn’t been as bad of a hangover as the Philadelphia Eagles seem to have, but the Capitals haven’t been playing up to their standards thus far. Barry Trotz left for a bigger contract with the Islanders, leaving Todd Reirden as the next head coach in line. He hasn’t been working with a full roster throughout the season and won’t have Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie again tonight. They’ve also been without Brooks Orpik on the blueline, and John Carlson has missed action for the Capitals at times this season.
The status of Braden Holtby isn’t completely clear tonight after missing the Avalanche game as well. Pheonix Copley was impressive in a 3-2 win over the Avs in his last start, though. Copley has been on a steady run with 2 goals allowed in each of his last four games. He got hammered for 6 goals in his debut against the Devils and has since settled down.
The Capitals would ideally like a healthy and hot Holtby in net. He got hot at the right time for the Caps in the playoffs, but like the rest of the team, it’s been a slow start for them out of the gate. The Caps head into Montreal with a record of 9-7-2, while the Canadiens are 11-6-3 following a couple of wins out west in Calgary and Vancouver. Head below for our free Capitals vs. Canadiens pick.
Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens Pick
The Canadiens lost the first game of their three-game west coast trip to Alberta and BC, but responded nicely with 3-2 wins over the Flames and Canucks. Besides the wins, the most positive sign for the Canadiens in those games was the performance of Carey Price. Struggling to get going this season, Price was sharp in both outings. He turned back 43 of 45 shots by the Flames, and then stymied the Canucks in Vancouver with a 36 save performance.
He advanced to 7-4-3 on the season in his first starts since a disastrous 6 goal outing against the Sabres. He may have just needed a bit of time off the ice to clear his thoughts and get back to basics. Niemi is not a long-term solution in net, and Price is playing on a massive contract, so it’s going to be him or bust. We’ll see how he follows it up at home against a shorthanded Capitals squad.
In the first meeting this season, the Canadiens got to Holtby for 5 goals. Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Brandon Gallagher both recorded 2 goals. Ovechkin and Lars Eller both lit the red light as well, but that wasn’t enough to overcome the Canadiens. I believe that the Caps might have some issues in Montreal again on Monday evening. They will come with revenge on their minds, but they’ll also be without Kuznetsov and Oshie, two cogs on the Caps that are a big piece of their lineup. They may have beaten the Avalanche, but I see it catching up to them in Montreal, their fourth straight game on the road. I’d look at the Canadiens in this matchup on Monday.