Lackluster first and third periods doomed the Capitals Thursday night in Montreal, as the Caps gave-up a late 4-3 lead to lose 6-4. The Capitals return to the ice on Saturday when they begin a five-game home stand against the Dallas Stars at Capital One Arena.
Brooks Orpik was out due to injury. As a result Christian Djoos and Madison Bowey made-up the bottom defensive pair. Jakub Vrana remained on the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Andre Burakovsky remained on the second line with Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie.
The Canadiens showed great energy right out of the gate, and botched the games first tally just 2:28 into the contest. But former Canadien Lars Eller would tie the game at 6:16 of the opening frame for 1-1 tie at the first intermission. The Habs would add two quick tallies in the first four minutes of the middle frame,
SHOT ATTEMPTS (POSSESSION)
After spending the entire 2017-2018 regular season last in shots on goal per game, the Capitals were 16th in the league in shots per game (31.1) so far this season, entering tonight’s contest in Montreal. The Canadiens were 14th in the league (31.8) entering the game.
The Habs out-attempted the Caps in the first period 30-16, and led, 19-13 in shots on goal. The Capitals returned the favor in the middle frame, out-attempting the Habs 22-12, and 13-8 in shots on goal for the second period. The Canadiens would unleash a barrage of attempts in the final frame, out-attempting the Caps 22-7 and 17-5 in shots on goal. The Habs out-attempted the Caps 64-46 for the game, and led 44-31 in shots on goal.
SHOT ATTEMPTS (DIFFERENTIAL)
SHOT ATTEMPTS (LOCATION)
The burning red spot in front of Braden Holtby says it all. The Canadiens we’re camped in the crease for much of the game.
The Capitals were 0 for 1 on the power play. The Canadiens 0 for 2 on the power play.
The Capitals won the faceoff battle 61-39%. Chandler Stephenson was 1 for 1, Nicklas Backstrom was 13 for 17 (76%), Lars Eller was 8 for 13 (62%), Devante Smith-Pelly was 0 for 1, Nic Dowd was 5 for 11 (45%), T.J. Oshie was 1 for 1 and Evgeny Kuznetsov was 8 for 15 (53%).
Braden Holtby stopped 34 of 39 shots on goal, for an .884 save percentage. Holtby is now an underwhelming 4-3-1 with a 3.60 GAA and a .887 save percentage on the season. Carey Price stopped 27 of 31 for an .871 save percentage.
No real surprises here. Madison Bowey and Christian Djoos played extremely limited minutes. With Orpik out due to injury, Reirden used the youthful defenders in safe situations, offensive zone draws, against Canadiens 4th liners. On the offensive side, Dmitrij Jaskin was low man in ice time. Another outlier is Brett Connolly. He is 6th on the team in points, but his time on ice continues to be marginal.
By Jon Sorensen