|Goaltender||Record||GAA / SV%|
|Washington Capitals||Ilya Samsonov||11-3-5||2.11 / .924|
|Montreal Canadiens||Jake Allen||5-13-2||2.78 / .905|
After spending the last week and a half on the road and picking up points in four of five matches, the Washington Capitals are finally back in DC to take on the struggling Montreal Canadiens. It has been just short of two years since the Caps last played the Habs, with their last game having been a 4-3 overtime loss. These two teams like to trade turns with the wins and losses, and over the years, the Caps have won just 48% of the time.
The Washington Capitals fell to the Seattle Kraken back on Sunday by a score of 5-2, giving the NHL’s newest franchise their first win in six tries. It was Washington’s first and likely last visit to Climate Pledge Arena this season, and it was only fitting for former Capitals goaltender Phillip Grubauer and Kraken legend Vitek Vanecek to faceoff in net for both teams.
In fact, the Kraken put together a lovely tribute video to celebrate his homecoming.
The Capitals did actually score first, as Tom Wilson potted his 6th goal of the season just three and a half minutes into the first period. It was Wilson’s third goal in five games.
But then with Evgeny Kuznetsov in the box for holding, Jared McCann scored with just under five minutes left in the period to make it 1-1.
Seattle would add on another three goals in succession in the 2nd period. Jaden Schwartz scored his 4th of the year at the 6:17 mark. Then, less than a minute later, Adam Larsson made his 3-1 Seattle, and Calle Jarnkrok scored at the 13:51 mark to make it 4-1. Both goals for Larsson and Jarnkrok were their first of the campaign.
Appeasing Caps fans slightly, Alex Ovechkin did score his 15th goal of the season at the 3:09 mark of the third period.
For a second, it felt like Washington could have made a comeback, and certainly made a push to do so. Unfortunately, with the Caps net vacated, Yanni Gourde finally ‘scored’ an empty-net goal to seal the 5-2 victory. Vitek gave up four goals on 30 shots for a .867 save percentage and is now just 4-3-4 on the season. The Capitals would go 0-for-4 with the man-advantage but did narrowly edge out the Kraken in the faceoff circle, winning 51.5% of faceoffs.
Meanwhile, the Montreal Canadiens did actually manage to take down the Nashville Predators 6-3 back on Saturday the 20th. The first 40 minutes were ALL HABS. Putting up one goal in the first period and four in the second, Montreal had a suffocating 5-0 lead as they closed out the first two periods. Artturi Lekhonen scored his first of the season just two minutes and 41 seconds into the opening frame.
The second period was chock full of goal-scoring and fist-throwing. Christian Dvorak made it 2-0 a measly 66 seconds into the middle frame, and then Brendan Gallagher added to extend his team’s lead to a score of 3-0. Gallagher’s 4th goal of the season came on the power play (Olivier, tripping). Six minutes later, Ryan Poehling improved the Habs’ lead to 4-0. Not even a minute later, Poehling scored his 2nd goal of the night to establish that five-goal lead. Just before the end of the second period, four different players, two from each team, became involved and were assessed a number of penalties for fighting, roughing, and unsportsmanlike conduct.
Martin Olivier and Josh Anderson were assessed five-minute majors for fighting, Christian Dvorak and Mark Borowiecki were assessed two-minute roughing minors and matching 10-minute misconduct penalties.
Then came the third period. In a span of ten minutes, and with each goal coming just a few minutes apart, Matt Duchene would score a natural hat trick to tally his 10th, 11th, and 12th goals of the season.
The first two goals both came as Nashville power-play markers. Down by two, the Predators elected to pull their goaltender for the extra attacker, but it was Tyler Toffoli who would score the empty-net goal to make it 6-3, Montreal.
Sam Montembeault, whom the Habs acquired from the Florida Panthers, earned his first win of the season.
The Montreal Canadiens are without the majority of their first string lineup. The list can be found below;
- C Cedric Paquette (IR, undisclosed)
- RW Paul Byron (IR-LT, hip)
- LW Mike Hoffman (IR, upper body)
- LW Mathieu Perreault (IR, eye)
- D Shea Weber (LT-IR, ankle, retirement imminent)
- D Joel Edmundson (IR, undisclosed)
- D Brett Kulak (OUT, lower body)
- G Carey Price (IR-LT, knee).
Goaltender Jake Allen was cleared by Habs athletic trainers and medical staff after suffering a concussion versus the Detroit Red Wings.
The Washington Capitals announced on Tuesday that Axel Jonsson-Fjallby had been reassigned to the Hershey Bears. This suggests that someone is soon to be healthy enough to return to the lineup. Lars Eller is still in COVID-19 protocol, TJ Oshie is again day-to-day with a lower-body injury, as is Conor Sheary. Nicklas Backstrom and Anthony Mantha are out with no return date.
Kassie’s Noteworthy Remarks
- Nick Suzuki leads his Canadiens in goals, points, and assists (4G, 10A, 14 points). Tyler Toffoli and Josh Anderson also have four goals apiece.
- Chris Wideman has four assists, five points, and is a +3 over his last five games for Montreal.
- Montreal is just 1-7-1 on the road this season, and is among the leagues worst in all offensive and defensive categories. They allow the 4th most goals against, have the 4th worst penalty kill (69.2%), and allow a staggering 31.7 shots on goal against per game.
The Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens will play on Wednesday, November 24th, at 7:00pm EST, and can be seen on NBC Sports Washington+, Sportsnet 1, Sportsnet East, and RDS Canada.