The Washington Capitals will aim to avert their first three-game winless skid to start a season in a decade when they host the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

The Capitals, who lost three in a row to start the 2012-13 campaign, have yet to convert any of their nine power-play opportunities this season. They went 0-for-4 in a 5-2 setback to the Boston Bruins on Wednesday and 0-for-5 with the man advantage in a 3-2 defeat to the Toronto Maple Leafs the following night.

“A lot of it is execution,” Washington coach Peter Laviolette said of his team’s troubles on the power play. “We’ve got to be better with what we’re doing on the ice. We’ll go back and continue to work on it, but for me, I think the execution has got to be better.”

Superstar captain Alex Ovechkin echoed his coach’s sentiments about the team’s issues with the man advantage.

“It’s just, I think, execution and maybe afraid to make a simple play to get one extra shot and find a dirty goal. But we just have to fight through it,” Ovechkin said. “Obviously, that’s a start we don’t want to have, two losses in a row. But it’s a wake-up call and we have to get better and play well in the next one.”

The next one is Saturday night against the visiting Canadiens. Washington outscored Montreal by a 19-9 margin en route to sweeping the season series in 2021-22.

Ovechkin collected one goal and three assists in two games versus the Canadiens last season. The three-time Hart Trophy recipient, however, has joined Russian countryman Evgeny Kuznetsov and defenseman John Carlson without a point in the first two games for the Capitals.

Washington likely will turn back to Stanley Cup-winning goaltender Darcy Kuemper to start Saturday’s contest. Kuemper struggled in the season opener, yielding four goals on 29 shots to the Bruins.

Kuemper, 32, sports a 3-2-0 record with a 2.40 goals-against average in six career appearances (five starts) against Montreal.

The Canadiens likely will counter with Sam Montembeault, who will make his season debut after Jake Allen was in net for the team’s first two games. Montembeault is 0-1-0 with a 5.23 goals-against average in two career appearances (one start) versus the Capitals.

Allen guided Montreal to a 4-3 win over Toronto on Wednesday before stopping 37 of 38 shots in a 3-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Friday.

“I don’t know if we can say it was a good game … we couldn’t really match their intensity,” Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki said. “We relied heavily on Jake Allen to stand on his head, and we can do better than that.”

Suzuki recorded three points (one goal, two assists) in three encounters with the Capitals in 2021-22.

Cole Caufield, who scored two goals in the opener on Wednesday, tallied twice against Washington last season.

Like the Capitals, the Canadiens have yet to convert on the power play this season. Montreal is 0-for-7 with the man advantage.

–Field Level Media