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- January hasn't been a kind month for Lars Eller. He has just 12 points in 44 games, his lowest PPG average of any month.
The Habs take to the road for this first time this season as they face the Washington Capitals. The Canadiens are coming off of a solid 4-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night, in which rookies Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher recorded their first NHL points. The Capitals will be looking to earn their first victory of the season, and rebound from a dismal performance at home against the Winnipeg Jets, which resulted in a 4-2 loss. The Capitals swept the season series last season, with the Canadiens earning only a single point from a shootout loss.
If the practice lines are any indication, head coach Michel Therrien won't mess with a winning line-up, and the forward trios will remain unchanged from Tuesday night. This means that Lars Eller will once again be a healthy scratch. Ryan White, ejected for suckerpunching Tomas Fleischmann last game, earned no supplementary discipline and should factor into the line-up yet again. Francis Boullion took a therapy day on Wednesday, but is expected to dress for tonight's game.
Through 2 games, the powerplay units for both teams are comparable with Montreal going 3 for 11 (27.3%) and the Capitals converting 2 of 8 opportunities (25%). Montreal has killed off 10 of 13 penalties (76.9%) while Washington has only managed to stave off 7 of 12 shorthanded situations (58.3%).
The Canadiens remain without the services of Petteri Nokelainen (back) and the unsigned P.K. Subban. Yannick Weber and Lars Eller are expected to be the healthy scratches, while Michael Blunden was reassigned to Hamilton yesterday. The Capitals will be missing Brooks Laich (groin) and Jack Hillen (upper body)
|Montreal (1-1-0)||Washington (0-2-0)|
Desharnais - Cole
Bourque - Plekanec - Gionta
Prust - Galchenyuk - Gallagher
Moen - White - Armstrong
Ovechkin - Backstrom
Poti - Green
1 - Discipline: The Canadiens have resumed where they left off last year, taking unnecessary penalties and being forced to spend extended periods of time shorthanded. Although their penalty-kill is respectable, it is noteworthy that the only goals scored against Montreal thus far have been on the PP. With the surplus of talent on the Washington roster, the Habs need to avoid a parade to the penalty box.
2 - Shut down Ovechkin: Alexander the Great seems to enjoy playing Montreal, and without Subban in the line-up, he will have a little more space along his wing. Montreal defenders will have to be prepared for his speed, and the forwards will have to be ready to provide support.
3 - Score early: It is no secret that the Habs do better when they score first, and presently, the Capitals are a frustrated bunch. The sooner the Canadiens can suck the air out of the Verizon Center, the sooner the Caps can start to second-guess themselves.
Game time is 7pm EST and the game can been seen on RDS and TSN-HABS.
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