A few dedicated folks in Washington are wondering what is wrong with the Capitals. In Montreal, millions are debating the problems of the Canadiens.
The two struggling teams meet tonight at the Montreal Forum (WTOP-1500 at 8 p.m.), but Washington Coach Danny Belisle has little sympathy to spare for the floundering Canadiens.
The Capitals entered last night's game against Pittsburgh with the NHL's second worst record, 1-5-2.
Montreal went into Detroit last night needing a victory merely to share first place in bte Norris Division with the Red Wings. After nine games, the Canadiens were 44-1, their worst start since posting an identical mark in 1966.
Although star defensemen Larry Robinson. Serge Savard and Guy La-pointe are healthy and active, Montreal's net has been vulnerable, to the extent that the Canadiens' 3.33 goals against average ranks ninth in the NHL
Ken Dryden, the perennial all-star, has a 3.50 record, yielding 21 goals in six games. Dryden's Vezina Trophy companion, Michel Larocque, is somewhat better at 2.67, with victories in two of three starts.
Offensively, Montreal hasn't been scaring anyone. It is necessary to search all the way to 20th place among the NHL scoring leaders to find a Canadien, defenseman Lapointe with only 11 points.
Guy Lafleur, the defending NHL scoring champion, is next with nine. Jacques Lemaire leads the club in goals with four, a figure matched by Washington's Tom Rowe.
The Capitals have lost all 12 games they have played in the Forum, and have been outscored by 86-18. In fact, the Capitals never have beaten Montreal in 24 meetings, but they finally earned a point in the last confrontation, tying 44 at Capital Centre on April 2.
Saturday night the Capitals visit the New York Islanders, another team they have never been able to defeat, for an 8 p.m. television (WDCA-TV 20) date.
Sunday, Detroit visits Capital Centre at 7:30.