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Sports Capitals at Canadiens, April 16, 2022: Five things you should know

17:31  16 april  2022
17:31  16 april  2022 Source:   montrealgazette.com

Golden Knights netminder Robin Lehner close to returning

  Golden Knights netminder Robin Lehner close to returning While DeBoer defines Lehner as “capable of playing,” he said that the goaltender needs more time and practice before returning as the team’s starter. © Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner "We wouldn’t be in the playoff battle without him coming in and doing what he’s done," DeBoer said, per The Athletic's Jesse Granger. "Credit to him, and he’s gotta keep doing it. Every time we can put him in there it buys us another day to give Robin Lehner a chance to get more comfortable. "Robin’s back. He’s capable of playing. But he’s missed an extensive period of time.

Montreal Canadiens' Josh Anderson has the puck poked away from him by Washington Capitals Ilya Samsonov during second period of National Hockey League game in Montreal Thursday February 10, 2022. © Provided by The Gazette Montreal Canadiens' Josh Anderson has the puck poked away from him by Washington Capitals Ilya Samsonov during second period of National Hockey League game in Montreal Thursday February 10, 2022.

Here are five things you should know about the Canadiens-Capitals game Saturday at the Bell Centre (7 p.m., City, SNE, TVA Sports, TSN-690 Radio, 98.5 FM):

The matchup: The Canadiens will be looking for their first win in three attempts against the Capitals who started the season series with a 6-3 win at home on Nov. 24 and followed with a 5-2 victory at the Bell Centre on Feb. 10, which was Martin St. Louis’ first game behind the bench. The Canadiens are coming off a 3-0 home defeat to the New York Islanders . It was thejr fourth loss in a row but it took a 42-save performance from Ilya Sorokin to give the visitors the victory. The Capitals are coming off a 7-3 loss to the Maple Leafs Thursday, but they hold down the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 92 points for a comfortable 13-point lead on the ninth-place Islanders.

Colorado expects Nazem Kadri to be back before playoffs

  Colorado expects Nazem Kadri to be back before playoffs During his postgame availability today after a nail-biting 3-2 over the Pittsburgh Penguins, Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said center Nazem Kadri will “miss some time” with injury but should be back for the start of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Kadri appeared to sustain an upper-body injury during Colorado’s 4-2 win against the San Jose Sharks on March 31st. Converged on by Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier, Kadri was sandwiched between the two and was attended to on the ice by a member of the team’s medical staff.

Montembeault back in goal: This is the second game in a back-to-back set and, while it would seem that Carey Price has had enough rest over the past nine-plus months, he’ll be the backup to Sam Montembeault for this game. Montembeault, who is looking for some leverage as he approaches restricted free agent status on July 1, has been placed in some challenging situations this season in the absence of Price and Jake Allen. He has appeared in 35 games after playing only 25 NHL games prior to this season. He has a 7-16-6 record with a 3.54 goals-against average and an .895 save percentage.

The cup half full: The Canadiens were shut out by the New York Islanders Friday but St. Louis was encouraged by the performance, calling it the team’s best showing since he became head coach. St. Louis was enthused because the Canadiens dominated the Islanders. They outshot New York 44-20 but those numbers only told half the story. Montreal had 30 shots blocked and missed the target on 15 other attempts, which means they took 89 shots. It took a superb effort by the acrobatic Sorokin to keep the Canadiens off the scoresheet.

A look at Darcy Kuemper's impending free agency

  A look at Darcy Kuemper's impending free agency The Avalanche will have some decisions to make this offseason, including about their star goaltender.To solve the issue, Avalanche GM Joe Sakic made a deal with the Arizona Coyotes, a soon-to-be division rival, to acquire goaltender Darcy Kuemper for Conor Timmins and two draft picks, including a 2022 first-round pick. The trade allowed Colorado to acquire an accomplished goaltender to get out of their difficult situation, but the long-term implications of the trade were cloudy. Kuemper was acquired as a player with only one year left until free agency, meaning there was no guarantee that this trade would be anything but a one-year marriage.

Watch out for Ovie : Alexander Ovechkin isn’t going to win his 10th Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy as the NHL’s top  goal-scorer but he’s having a pretty good season for a 35-year-old. Ovechkin has 46 goals and 29 assists for 85 points in 72 games. He has moved into third place on the NHL’s all-time goals list with 776. The only players ahead of him are Wayne Gretzky, who is No.1 with 894 and Gordie Howe, who scored 801. If he reaches 50 goals this season, he will tie Gretzky and the late Mike Bossy for the most 50-goal seasons with nine. Ovechkin has enjoyed success against the Canadiens. He has 33 goals and 28 assists for 58 points in 51 games.

Bits and pieces: With Ovechkin setting up in the left faceoff circle you would think the Capitals would have a dynamite power play but they rank 21st in the NHL with a success rate of 18.9 per cent. The return of Carey Price should provide a boost to the Montreal defence which allows 3.8 goals a game to rank last in the NHL. Former Canadien Lars Eller returns to Montreal with the Capitals and the Danish centre has 12 goals and 28 points. Washington’s John Carlson ranks fourth among NHL defencemen with 15 goals and is fifth in points with 66.

San Jose Sharks first-round pick William Eklund to play in Swedish Junior Playoffs

  San Jose Sharks first-round pick William Eklund to play in Swedish Junior Playoffs Eklund, who was selected seventh overall by the Sharks in 2021, showed early on that he could likely handle himself at the NHL level right away. In nine games with the Sharks he managed four assists and was arguably the team’s most dynamic offensive presence early on. After those nine games and before the first year of his entry-level contract was burned, San Jose loaned him back to Sweden where things haven’t gone quite as well. In 29 games with the senior club, Eklund managed to score just a single goal and register 14 points.

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