The Canadiens (27-12-5) play their home finale Saturday night against the Capitals (24-18-2). The game is set to start at 7:00, but expect some on-ice presentations to push back the opening puck drop. The match can be seen on CBC and RDS.
This is the third and final meeting between the Habs and Caps, Montreal will be looking for some revenge after dropping a 3-2 decision to Washington on Bell Centre ice less than two weeks ago. Lars Eller scored both of the Canadiens goals but it wasn’t enough as the Caps got goals from Alex Ovechkin, Eric Fehr and Jack Hillen.
What to What:
Brian Gionta scored a pair of goals against the Lightning on Thursday and now leads the team with 14 on the season. Whilee he’s not having a career year, Gionta has bounced back nicely from him injury shortened 2011-2012 campaign when he finished the year with just 8 goals and 7 assists in 31 games.
Carey Price also had a stellar game against the Bolts, he stopped 32 of 34 shots including a highlight reel toe save on Martin St Louis to keep the game tied early in the second period. The win was Price’s first victory since the Habs beat the Bruins on April 6.
Alex Ovechkin is in top form for the Caps, he had 8 goals and 3 assists in his previous 6 games before facing the Sens on Thursday. Ovi was held pointless with a -3 rating against Ottawa, meaning Montreal will be looking to shut the Russian superstar out in consecutive games for the first time in over a month.
What’s at Stake:
The Canadiens are closing in on home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs and a win on Saturday would put them to within a point of clinching a top-4 spot in the East. The Habs could use a confidence boost as well after a rough month of April and beating a surging Capitals team would certainly give Montreal a lift heading into the playoffs.
And of course, the Canadiens will be looking to provide their fans at the Bell Centre with a good show for their fans in their last home game of the regular season.
Both Raphael Diaz (concussion) and Colby Armstrong (knee) could return to action on Saturday, Diaz hasn’t played since February 25. That leaves Alexei Emelin (knee) as the team’s only injured player, Ryan White is out as well serving a 5-game suspension.
The Caps are missing Joel Ward (knee), Brooks Laich (groin) and Tom Poti (back).
Montreal’s duo of standout rookies Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk are both finishing the season strong. Gallagher has 2 goals and 2 assists in his last 5 games bringing him up to 25 on the year. Galchenyuk has 9 points in April and goals in 6 of his last 8 games. The Habs freshmen are third and sixth in rookie scoring.
The Question Mark:
Brandon Prust was named this season’s “Unsung Hero” for the Canadiens, he was awarded chosen as the 2012-13 Jacques Beauchamp-Molson award. Do you agree with that choice, who do you think was Montreal’s unsung hero this year?
Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below or use the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter.
Be sure to tune into the Montreal Hockey Talk Pregame Show an hour before the puck drop and the Post Game Show 5 minutes after the final siren. Join the live conversation by using the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter.