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With the Christmas break now finished, the Habs will look to get back on a winning note on Saturday as they continue their road trip. That will be a challenging task as standing in their way are the conference-leading Washington Capitals.

Over the past ten games, the two teams are on the opposite end of the standings. Montreal, at 1-9-0 in their past ten, is dead last in the NHL over that span. On the flip side, the Caps are 8-1-1 and have won six straight, both tops in the league in that time.

These two teams met up earlier this month and it was that game that marked the beginning of this current tailspin as the Canadiens fell 3-2 despite nearly doubling up Washington in shots (35-19). Lars Eller and Brian Flynn (shorthanded) had the goals for the Habs.

Montreal’s blueline may have some changes coming from their last game, a 2-1 loss at the hands of Minnesota. Jeff Petry, who has missed the last two games, was skating earlier in the week and may be ready to return. Tom Gilbert will not play after leaving early against the Wild due to a lower body injury. Greg Pateryn will likely draw back in either in place of Gilbert or Jarred Tinordi; the 25 year old last saw game action back on December 10th.

Projected Montreal Lines:

Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Dale Weise
Tomas Fleischmann – Tomas Plekanec – Paul Byron
Lars Eller – Alex Galchenyuk – Daniel Carr
Brian Flynn – Torrey Mitchell – Devante Smith-Pelly

Nathan Beaulieu – P.K. Subban
Andrei Markov – Jeff Petry
Alexei Emelin – Greg Pateryn

Mike Condon

Projected Washington Lines:

Alexander Ovechkin – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Justin Williams
Jason Chimera – Jay Beagle – Tom Wilson
Brooks Laich – Michael Latta – Andre Burakovsky

Nate Schmidt – John Carlson
Karl Alzner – Matt Niskanen
Dmitry Orlov – Taylor Chorney

Braden Holtby

News and Notes:

– St. John’s is also back in action after a lengthy break (they last played on the 16th). They take on the Marlies in the first of a pair of afternoon affairs this weekend.  Zack Kassian will not play as the Habs have told him not to report to the IceCaps at this time.
– Tomas Plekanec is goalless in his last 20 games but has had a fair bit of success vs Washington in his career, picking up 29 points (14-15-29) in 39 games.
– Jarred Tinordi and Nate Schmidt have a bit of history dating back to the 2014 preseason. They haven’t played against each other since that hit.

Puck drop is at 7 PM on CBC, City TV, and TVA Sports.