Back on home ice, the Washington Capitals are looking to start another points streak when they play host to the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.
The Capitals were 6-0-1 over a seven-game stretch before a 5-2 upset loss to the Seattle Kraken on Sunday. Washington allowed three goals during the second period, including a pair of markers to Jaden Schwartz and Adam Larsson within the span of 43 seconds.
“The game got away from us in about four minutes,” Capitals forward Nic Dowd said. “Then I thought we actually played really well the rest of the game and controlled the game. ... I think we had chances to win that game if we hadn’t let it get away from us early.”
Beyond the end of the seven-game points streak, Washington’s penalty killers allowed a Kraken power-play goal, snapping the penalty-kill unit’s perfect 18-for-18 mark over the Capitals’ previous eight games.
The Capitals were also 0-for-4 on the power play Sunday, and are only 3-for-25 with the extra attacker over their past 10 games. Wednesday’s game represents a chance to end this slump, as the Canadiens are near the bottom of the league in penalty-kill percentage (69.23 per cent).
Case in point, the Habs allowed two power-play goals to Nashville Predators forward Matt Duchene on Saturday, although it wasn’t enough to spark a Nashville comeback. The Canadiens scored the first five goals in a 6-3 win over the Predators, as Tyler Toffoli led the way with a goal and two assists.
The victory ended a four-game (0-3-1) winless drought for the Canadiens, and was another example of the all-or-nothing nature of Montreal’s season. The Habs have outscored opponents 23-6 in their five wins, but have been outscored by a whopping 64-21 margin over their other 15 games.
As the Canadiens look for their first win streak of the season, head coach Dominique Ducharme says the intent is not only to match the form of the Predators game, but to “make it better” as a way of finally gaining consistency.
“That’s the main thing. Is it going [to] always translate into a win? Maybe not, but it’s going to translate into giving us a chance every night,” Ducharme said.
Montreal goaltender Jake Allen has missed the past four games because of a concussion, but skated with the team on Monday and may be poised for a return. Sam Montembeault will get the start if Ducharme opts to hold Allen back for another day.
Cedric Paquette also skated during Monday’s practice and could play against Washington. Paquette has missed the Canadiens’ past six games with an undisclosed injury.
Since Vitek Vanecek started against the Kraken, Ilya Samsonov is likely to be between the pipes for the Capitals on Wednesday.
Alex Ovechkin scored on Sunday, giving the star forward an even 15 goals and 15 assists over 19 games. Ovechkin’s next assist will be the 606th of his NHL career, breaking a tie with Hall of Famer Michel Goulet for 89th on the all-time list.