Capitals vs. Canadiens Preview
Montreal, Quebec (AP) - The Washington Capitals' eight-game winning streak has pulled the team to within one point of first place in the Eastern Conference.
Their impressive play on the road could allow them to take over the top spot soon.
The Capitals can tie a franchise record with a sixth consecutive victory away from home as they begin a six-game trip against the surging Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.
According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Canadiens -110 money line favorites for Tuesday's game against the Capitals. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 56% of more than 747 bets for this game have been placed on the Capitals +102.
With 12 games to go, Washington (40-20-10) is one point behind Philadelphia in the East. The Caps kept rolling Sunday with a 4-3 overtime victory over Chicago.
Mike Knuble scored the winner and the Capitals outshot the Blackhawks 42-30, including 6-0 in the extra period. Boyd Gordon, Jason Arnott and Brooks Laich also scored for Washington.
"All four lines were going; that's why I didn't shorten the bench," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "They're all contributing. It's a nice thing to see, but that's why you win - when everyone contributes."
Alex Ovechkin didn't, but it was the first time he went without a point in eight games.
The Capitals' overall winning streak is their longest since a franchise-record 14-game run Jan. 13-Feb. 7, 2010. They can also equal the team record for consecutive road wins, set from Feb. 26-April 1, 1984.
All five victories during the road streak have come by one goal. Washington has allowed six goals during that run.
Rookie Braden Holtby has started the last three games in goal after coming on for the injured Michal Neuvirth on March 7. Holtby has given up four goals in those four appearances.
Neuvirth had won four straight starts with a 1.73 goals-against average before being injured.
"They're really not making it easy on me," Boudreau said. "It's decision time. ... Neuvy's ready to play and he wants the net back, (Semyon Varlamov) is getting better. We want to make a decision (on a No. 1 goalie) pretty soon."
The Capitals will face the Canadiens (38-24-7) twice during this road trip, while also taking on the Flyers, Detroit, New Jersey and Ottawa.
"It's going to be a tough road trip in tough buildings," Boudreau said. "We'll see how good we are."
Washington will be tested right away, as the sixth-place Canadiens have won six of seven and are pushing Tampa Bay for the fifth spot. Montreal pulled within five points of fourth-place Pittsburgh by beating the Penguins 3-0 on Saturday.
Carey Price made 26 saves for his eighth shutout of the season as Montreal bounced back from a 4-1 loss to St. Louis on Thursday.
It was a positive end to a difficult week for the Canadiens, who have lost winger Max Pacioretty indefinitely to a severe concussion and fractured vertebra suffered on a hit by Boston's Zdeno Chara last Tuesday.
"We felt it was important for us to come out strong right away," said forward Mike Cammalleri, who had a goal and an assist against the Penguins. "After our last game and everything else that happened, we really wanted to get it going."
Price has gone 6-2-0 with a 1.41 GAA and two shutouts in his last eight games. He has started both matchups with Washington this season, posting a 1.94 GAA.The teams split those meetings, both in Washington. Montreal won the most recent one 3-2 in a shootout Feb. 1.
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