GAME PREVIEW | Capitals – Canadiens: Habs Back in Action

Game Preview by Sam Gerber
Last game : MTL 5  VGK 4  F/SO   Before the break, the Habs won four of their last five games but fell further out of the playoff picture. The Habs got off to an early lead with Nick Cousins, Joel Armia and Ilya Kovalchuk all finding the back of the net. Unfortunately the Habs allowed Vegas back in the game and gave up a late goal that sent it to overtime. In overtime both teams had their chances, but could not finish. The shootout was a different story with Tomas Tatar scoring the shootout winner and Carey Price making a game-winning save!

For a complete game recap: Habs Celebrate Thrilling SO Win

Players to watch

  • Carey Price
    Suzuki’s game saving pass seemed to be delivered with confidence. Hopefully this will encourage the head coach to change his ways and have more trust in young players on the roster. 
  • Jesperi Kotkaniemi
    Kotkaniemi has flown under the radar but he has played well. He continues to learn how to be a pro as one of the youngest players in the NHL. Kotkaniemi has benefited from the strong play of Ryan Poehling and Artturi Lehkonen.
  • Ilya Kovalchuk
    For fans, it has been amazing to see a player of the caliber of Kovalchuk in a Habs jersey. He has showcased that he still has something to offer a playoff-bound team and it should only be a matter of time before Marc Bergevin does the right thing and moves him to a contender.  

Keys to Victory

  • Play with energy
    After a long break the Habs should be well rested but need to come out with energy.
  • Limit mistakes
    The Habs have found ways to win, relying on outstanding play from Carey Price, but have been playing sloppy hockey lately. They need to be mentally sharp and be ready to play. 
  • Play with confidence
    The Habs haven’t played much convincing hockey all season, giving up leads and losing many one goal games. It’s time for them to he confident and dominant from start to finish.
Statistical Matchup by All Habs
Bell Centre, Montreal, QC | January 27, 7:00 PM ET | TV: TSN2, RDS, NBCSWA, ESPN+

2019-20 statistics

CAPITALS CANADIENS
71 (1st) Points (rank) 51 (24th)
33-11-5 Record 22-21-7
18-6-1 Away/Home 10-12-4
6-4-0 Last 10 4-5-1
3.55 GF/G 3.04
2.90 GA/G 3.12
20.3 PP% 20.6
84.2 PK% 78.9
51.94  CF% 53.73
Pre-game quotes
Max Domi

  • “That’s an elite hockey team over there, obviously. They’ve proven it time and time again. They won a Stanley Cup pretty recently so they know how to win and a lot of experience over there. But that being said, you’ve got to respect that team, but not too much. You’ve got to understand and just go out and commit to the game plan and stick with it and worry about getting the two points.”
Projected forward lines, defense pairings and goaltenders by All Habs
Forwards
Panik – Backstrom – Wilson
Vrana – Kuznetsov – Oshie
Hagelin – Eller – Boyd
Leipsic – Dowd – Hathaway
Tatar – Danault – Kovalchuk
 Domi – Suzuki – Armia
Lehkonen – Kotkaniemi – Poehling
Cousins – Thompson – Weise
Defensemen
Kempny – Carlson
Orlov – Jensen
Siegenthaler – Gudas
Chiarot – Weber
Kulak – Petry
Mete – Fleury
Out of the lineup
Scratched: Ovechkin (suspended)
Injured: none
Scratched: Weal
Injured: Drouin, Byron, Gallagher, Scandella
Goalies
Braden Holtby Carey Price
Record: 18-9-4
GAA: – 3.09
Sv%: – .897
SO: 0
Alternate: Ilya Samsonov
Record: 20-16-4
GAA: – 2.84
Sv%: – .908
SO: 2
Alternate: Charlie Lindgren
 What to Expect by Sam Gerber
With less than a four percent chance of making the post-season, the Habs playoff chances are all but decided. Now is the time for Marc Bergevin to show that he can make good hockey decisions and use the opportunity to shed players that are not part of the Canadiens long-term future. That said, missing the playoffs once again will hurt.
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