Canadiens host Capitals, Flames entertain Coyotes on TSN

The Sports Network
3/15/2011 12:07:40 PM
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(Sports Network) - It's a doubleheader of NHL action on TSN Tuesday with the puck dropping at 7pm et/4pm pt.

First, the Washington Capitals will try to extend their winning streak to nine games when they visit the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.

Then, the Phoenix Coyotes will try to sweep the season series with the Calgary Flames for the first time in nine years at the Saddledome.

The Capitals have the longest current winning streak in the NHL and picked up their eighth consecutive victory in dramatic fashion on Sunday, edging the visiting Chicago Blackhawks in overtime.

Washington's hot streak has the club three points ahead of Tampa Bay for the Southeast Division lead and the Caps are also just one point behind Philadelphia for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Canadiens have also been playing excellent hockey of late, winning six of their last seven contests, and they are just two points behind Boston for the Northeast Division lead. The Bruins are playing tonight in Columbus.

Washington and the Habs have split a pair of games so far this season, but tonight will mark the first meeting in Montreal, where the Caps have lost two of three and six of their last nine games. Overall, Washington has taken four of the last seven meetings.

Mike Knuble was the hero for Washington on Sunday, as he scored his 16th goal of the season with 1:09 left in overtime and lifted the Caps to the 4-3 win over the defending Stanley Cup champions. Chicago had pushed the game to overtime thanks to a power-play goal by captain Jonathan Toews with 38.5 seconds remaining in regulation.

In overtime, Knuble parked himself in front of Corey Crawford, took a pass from Marcus Johansson and dragged the puck to his forehand before flipping it over the goaltender's glove. Johansson atoned for committing the hooking penalty that led to Toews' marker.

"It was a real heads up play by Marcus," Knuble said of the goal. "It was a very smart play by him. I just kind of put my stick out there."

Jason Arnott, Brooks Laich and Boyd Gordon also tallied for the Capitals, who are on their longest win streak since a franchise-best 14-game run from Jan. 13-Feb. 7 of last season.

Braden Holtby, making his third consecutive start in net, stopped 27 shots. Holtby has been starting in place of Michal Neuvirth, who has been able to serve as the backup in the last three games despite dealing with a facial injury.

Neuvirth could play tonight unless Caps head coach Bruce Boudreau decides to stay with the hot hand again.

This evening's test marks the start of a six-game road trip for the Capitals, who have won five straight away from home and have an 18-12-3 road record this season.

The Canadiens had a five-game winning streak halted with Thursday's loss in St. Louis, but Montreal rebounded with a 3-0 win in Pittsburgh on Saturday. Carey Price made 26 saves for his eighth shutout of the season.

Michael Cammalleri had a goal and an assist while Tomas Plekanec and Travis Moen each scored a goal for the Canadiens.

"We did a lot of the little stuff today," said Cammalleri. "We were putting shots on net, putting pressure in their zone and limiting their chances in our own end. A well-played game."

Cammalleri is questionable for tonight's game with flu-like symptoms. Habs defenseman Brent Sopel could also miss a third straight game with an injured left hand.

Price is expected to start tonight's game. He is 1-1 with a 1.94 goals-against average in two games against Washington this season.

Montreal, which has won its last two games on home ice, is 21-8-6 as the host this season.

Coyotes at Flames (TSN, 9:30pm et/6:30pm pt)

The Coyotes have points in four straight (3-0-1) since a five-game slide and that includes a 3-0 home win over the Flames last Thursday. Ilya Bryzgalov made 38 saves for his sixth shutout of the season as Phoenix picked up its fifth victory in its last six versus Calgary.

The Coyotes, who snapped a two-game series road losing streak with a 3-1 win at the Saddledome on Nov. 17, haven't swept this four-game series set since 2001-02.

The Flames had won three straight and five of six prior to that loss to the Coyotes and, coupled with Saturday's 4-3 defeat to the Canucks, have lost back-to-back games in regulation for the first time since Jan. 3 and 5. Calgary is still holding onto the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference with 81 points, just one up on Nashville.

The Coyotes are two points ahead of the Flames, leaving them tied with the Kings for the fourth spot out West.

Calgary raced out to a quick 2-0 lead versus Vancouver on goals by Mikael Backlund and Matt Stajan just 3:32 in. David Moss also scored and Miikka Kiprusoff made 28 saves in the opener of a three-game homestand. Calgary had won three straight and five of its last seven as the host.

"We liked the way we started the game," said Flames assistant coach Dave Lowry. "They're a good hockey team, very opportunistic, and we had a couple breakdowns and they capitalized."

Kiprusoff did not start last week's meeting and is 12-8-2 with a 2.30 goals- against average lifetime versus Phoenix.

The Coyotes carried their momentum from the win over the Flames with a 5-2 triumph against the Ducks, Phoenix's second straight win overall that halted a four-game road slide in the opener of a four-game swing.

Lauri Korpikoski scored twice and Shane Doan ended with a goal and two assists. Bryzgalov posted 36 saves.

"It's huge for us just to find ways to win games," said Doan, who scored in a third straight game and has six tallies and 15 points in his past 14 games. "The fun thing about being on this team is that we count on every single guy."

Though Ray Whitney returned from a two-game absence due to a lower-body injury, the Coyotes remained without Rostislav Klesla (head) and Martin Hanzal (lower body) due to injury. Andrew Ebbett also left the game in the second period due to an upper-body ailment.

The Coyotes trail the Sharks by three points for the top spot in the Pacific Division.

Bryzgalov is 8-7-1 with a 2.60 GAA in his career against Calgary.

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