Game Preview by Sam Gerber, Staff Writer
Last game: MTL 3 BUF 2 (SO)

The game, highlighted by Jack Eichel and company, saw the Habs turn a bad penalty call into the game tying goal. Phillip Danault scored shorthanded with a wraparound that Robin Lehner would like to have back. Carey Price stopped all three shots in the shootout and Jonathan Drouin scored the game-deciding goal.

For a complete recap: Canadiens – Sabres: Price With 43 Saves, Habs Take Opener

Players to watch

  • Carey Price
    Price is the Habs best player, as he proved last game stopping 43 of 45 shots plus all three shootout attempts. Price will have to match game one’s performance if the Habs want a shot against the Caps.
  • Braden Holtby
    From one Vezina winner to another, Holtby has emerged as one of the best goalies in the league. The Habs will have to compete hard to get one by him and will need to make his night difficult from the start so that he doesn’t steal the show
  • Karl Alzner
    It will be a homecoming for Alzner, who will play his former team for the first time ever in just his second game for the Habs. Alzner looked good in his first game  especially on the penalty kill. Look for Alzner to play the same game as he always does.
  • Alexander Ovechkin
    Ovechkin will look to continue his hot start which featured a hat-trick in the Caps game one victory over Ottawa. The Habs will look to keep him in check for as long as they can. When Ovechkin isn’t scoring he’s involved physically. Expect him to set the tone for the Caps early with the body.
  • Alex Galchenyuk
    Galchenyuk played 18:09 in game one, third among Habs forwards yet had a quiet game. For the Habs to go far this season Galchenyuk will need to be a factor every game this year especially against a team with depth like the Capitals.
  • Nathan Walker
    Nathan Walker will make NHL history tonight as the first Australian born player to play in the NHL. Walker brings good speed and compete level to the Caps. It will be nice to see how he performs.

Keys to Victory

  • Score first
    The Habs are a much better team when they score first and can’t afford to fall behind the Caps early.
  • Bend don’t break
    The Caps will have a lot of energy during the home opener and it will be important for the Habs to survive the opening push from the Caps.
  • Get physical
    The Habs will need to get on the body a lot more this game to force the play and use their speed to retrieve the pucks
Matchup 
Capital One Arena, Washington, DC. | October 7, 7:00 PM ET | TV: NBCSWA, TVA, CITY

2016-17 statistics

CAPITALS CANADIENS
118 (1st) Points (NHL rank) 103 (7th)
55-19-8 Record 47-26-9
32-7-2 Home 24-12-5
23-12-6 Away 23-14-4
8-2-0 Last 10 6-3-1
3.18 GF/G 2.72
2.16 GA/G 2.41
23.1 PP% 19.7
83.8 PK% 81.1
 51.79  CF%  52.54
56.09 CF/60  58.77
52.22 CA/60 53.09
Advanced statistics at 5-on-5  
Projected forward lines, defense pairings and goaltenders
Forwards
Ovechkin – Kuznetsov – Vrana
Burakovsky – Backstrom – Oshie
Connolly – Eller – Chiasson
Walker – Beagle – Smith-Pelly
Pacioretty – Drouin – Gallagher
Hudon – Plekanec – Lehkonen
Galchenyuk – Danault – Shaw
Byron – De La Rose – Hemsky
Expected scratches: Mitchell
Defensemen
Orlov – Niskanen
Orpik – Carlson
Ness – Chorney 
Mete – Weber
Alzner – Petry
Benn – Streit
Expected scratches: Morrow, Davidson
Goalies
Braden Holtby (Confirmed) Carey Price  (Confirmed)
2016-’17 regular season:
Record: 42-13-6
GAA: 2.07
Sv%: .925
SO: 9
Alternate: Philipp Grubauer
2016-’17 regular season:
Record: 37-20-5
GAA: 2.23
Sv%: .923
SO: 3
Alternate: Al Montoya
 What to Expect
The Habs will need to play a lot faster than they did in game one. Expect the Caps to control play but for the Habs to attack fast in transition and to look for a few stretch passes.

Prediction

If Price can keep them in the game earlier I see the Habs winning 4-1. But if the Habs get into penalty trouble and get caught watching again expect the Caps to be the 4-1 winners.

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