Habs face hottest team in NHL in Capitals

The Montreal Canadiens are warm while the Washington Capitals are red hot heading into their matchup on Tuesday.

Arnott won't play for Washington

The Montreal Canadiens are warm while the Washington Capitals are red hot heading into their matchup on Tuesday.

Washington (40-20-10) has won eight straight after Mike Knuble's overtime goal was a 4-3 winner over Chicago.

Montreal (38-24-7), meanwhile, blanked Pittsburgh the last time out for their sixth win in seven games.

The game could pit the two hottest goalies in the NHL, although Washington coach Bruce Boudreau hasn't named his starter.

Carey Price of the Canadiens blanked the Penguins for his eighth shutout of the season and 12th of his career on Saturday, and is the primary reason the team has allowed just 11 goals in the last seven.

Capitals rookie Braden Holtby has shone in net after injuries to two other goalies pressed him into duty, and was named the NHL's first star of the week on Monday.

The Canadiens return to action after an impressive 3-0 shutdown of the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon.

Mike Cammalleri led the way with a goal and an assist, although he reportedly was under the weather on Monday.

On the blue-line, Paul Mara earned plaudits for his gritty play.

Montreal ranks in the top 10 in both the power play and in penalty killing, while the Capitals are turning previous assumptions on their head. Washington is in the top 5 in the penalty kill but just 22nd on the power play.

Caps just behind Flyers

With 12 games left in the regular season, Washington (40-20-10) is one point behind Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference.

Holtby last week went 4-0-0 with a shutout, a 1.05 goals-against average and a .965 save percentage, although Michal Neuvirth is healthy enough to play again. All Neuvirth has done is set a franchise record for rookie goalie wins, with a 22-10-4 record.

There was a downside to the win over the Blackhawks, as Jason Arnott is not on the team's six-game road trip due to an undisclosed lower body injury.

Alexander Ovechkin, meanwhile, saw his points streak snapped after seven games in the game against Chicago.

The Capitals can equal the franchise record for six consecutive road wins, set from Feb. 26-April 1, 1984.

Washington isn't the flashy team of the past. The Capitals' last five road wins have been one-goal games.

"I think we all had to face the fact that we’re not what we used to be," winger Mike Knuble said before the team travelled to Canada on Monday. "Guys are finally accepting it that while we’d like to score a lot more, we are going to play in tight games.

Montreal returns to action Thursday at Bell Centre against Washington's primary competition for the Southeast Division title, the Tampa Bay Lightning.

With files from The Associated Press