Confident Canadiens expect physical clash vs. Ducks

MONTREAL -- After a character win against a tough foe, the Montreal Canadiens will be looking for more of the same against a Western Conference heavyweight.

One night after leaving Carey Price out to dry, the Canadiens put together one of their best efforts of the season on Saturday night against the Washington Capitals. With Price back in net, Montreal held the Capitals' talented roster to a mere 21 shots on goal while the lone goal came on a two-man advantage.

They were the only two penalties the Canadiens took against Washington and marked the fourth time in their last five games that they've allowed their opposition three or fewer power plays.

On Tuesday, the Canadiens (20-7-4) will look to maintain that level of discipline when they welcome the Anaheim Ducks to the Bell Centre.

"We just played a team that was very confident (in Washington) and that should give us some confidence," Montreal captain Max Pacioretty said after practice on Monday. "We're playing an opponent that's once again a measuring-stick team. We keep saying that but the bigger teams like (Anaheim) kind of cycle down low and use their body. I think it's normally a good recipe for a good game against us because we clash so much with styles of play. It'll be fun and we've got to pick up where we left off last game."

Anaheim skated away with a 3-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night and used the power play to get the job done. Cam Fowler connected midway through the third period to improve his team's record to 2-2-0 on their current six-game road trip. The Ducks (17-11-5), who own the NHL's second-best power play, went 2-for-5 with the man advantage against Toronto and are now 8-for-19 in their last five games.

"It was an important night for us, sometimes you need your power play to keep you in the game when you're not getting many chances five-on-five," Fowler said. "I was happy to see that one go in in the third."

With his goal, Fowler tied Fredrik Olausson (22) for second on the franchise's all-time power-play goals list among defensemen while also hitting the 200 point mark in his NHL career. That milestone also moved him into a tie with Matt Cullen for ninth on the club's all-time points list.

"He's been unbelievable this year," goaltender John Gibson said after the game of Fowler, who leads the Ducks' defensive corps with nine goals and 22 points and ranks fifth among NHL defensemen in scoring. "He's out there in every situation and everything we ask him to do he comes up with. He's been great."

Montreal, meanwhile, could be without its top-scoring blueliner. Andrei Markov, whose 19 assists and 21 points lead the Canadiens' back-end. He left Saturday's game with a lower-body injury and did not practice on Monday, taking a "therapy day" instead, per the team.

Head coach Michel Therrien said the 16-year NHL veteran, who turns 38 on Tuesday, is day-to-day and questionable to face Anaheim.

He's formed a solid second pairing with Jeff Petry, who is starting to pick up offensively after a lengthy drought. Petry has scored three times in the last four games -- including the game-winner on Saturday -- while recording 13 shots on goal. Six of those came against the Capitals.

"Lately, he's playing probably his best hockey of the season," Therrien said of Petry. "He's very active, he's solid defensively and he skates well. He's capable of joining the rush and he makes great decisions as to when to pinch. He's played an important role in our team's success."

After Gibson got the nod in goal for the Ducks on Monday, Laval, Quebec, native Jonathan Bernier could get the call against Montreal.
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