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Capitals vs. Canadiens: Tale of the Tape, Lines, Players To Watch

The Washington Capitals will look to bounce back and close out 2022 on a high note against the young Montreal Canadiens. Here’s everything to know before puck drop.



WASHINGTON — The Washington Capitals admitted that they got away from their game on Thursday after a stretch of playing their best hockey of the season, and they'll aim to get back to that against the Montreal Canadiens to close out 2022.

Here is everything to know ahead of puck drop.

Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens: Tale of the Tape

Washington (20-13-5) has been stellar over the month of December, as the team is getting scoring from all across the lineup while the defense has tightened up well. The Capitals are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games and have points in six straight games. And despite operating without the likes of John Carlson, T.J. Oshie and more, Washington has been finding ways to win, and goaltenders Darcy Kuemper and Charlie Lindgren have also stepped up big time. The penalty kill has also been a key part of the hot streak and ranks eighth overall (81.8 percent).

Montreal (15-18-3) sits last in the Atlantic and has dropped the last three games. Overall, the Canadiens are 2-7-1 in their last 10 games, and they are getting outscored and dominated in several areas of the game. There are also struggles on special teams, as Montreal's power-play ranks dead last (14.9) and the penalty kill ranks 11th-worst (75.4). Still, the Habs are a dangerous team and have a lot of young talent in their arsenal, and stepping off the gas against them at any time is costly.

Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens: Lines

While the Capitals will still be operating without Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson, John Carlson, T.J. Oshie and more notable top pieces, they will get a key member of the lineup back on Saturday in Martin Fehervary. Fehervary will play for the first time in 12 games following an upper-body injury he suffered in Calgary.

Here are the projected lines based off Friday's practice.

Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Conor Sheary

Sonny Milano-Dylan Strome-T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson-Lars Eller-Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Anthony Mantha-Aliaksei Protas-Garnet Hathaway

Erik Gustafsson-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Dmitry Orlov-Nick Jensen

Martin Fehervary-Alex Alexeyev

Darcy Kuemper will start, with Charlie Lindgren expected to get Friday's game against the Nashville Predators.

Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens: Players To Watch

Evgeny Kuznetsov took the blame for the overtime winner against on Thursday, and with a promotion to the top line, he'll be eager to make up for that mistake against the Canadiens. Turnover aside, he has been playing some good hockey, making great plays and finding the scoresheet. He is on a four-game point streak. Also look out for Dylan Strome and Conor Sheary, who both have points in three straight. Sheary is having a great month with 13 points in his last 14 games. The biggest name to keep an eye on, though, is Erik Gustafsson. He has been stellar on the blue line and has points in six straight. Also look out for Alex Ovechkin, who scored career goal No. 803 on Thursday.

On the Habs side, they have a lot of firepower to watch for. Nick Suzuki leads the team with 31 points in 36 games. Cole Caufield is one goal away from his second consecutive 20-goal season. Also, Sean Monahan has points in two of his last three games and five points in his last five outings overall. And don't forget about Kirby Dach, Josh Anderson, Arber Xhekaj and more talent on the Montreal side.

How To Tune In

Local fans can watch the action live on NBC Sports Washington and listen on Caps Radio 24/7. Canadiens fans can catch the action on TVA Sports or listen on TSN 690 98.5 FM.

Puck drop is at 4 p.m. ET at Capital One Arena.