The Washington Capitals beat the Canadiens 5-1 at the Bell Centre Friday night. It was the Canadiens fourth loss in their last five games but, thanks to a Boston four game losing streak they continue to hold down first place in the Northeast Division. Boston still has two games in hand. Alex Ovechkin scored his 29th and 30th goals of the season to lead the Capitals. Troy Brouwer also scored twice. Niklas Backstrom added the other. Max Pacioretty scored a meaningless goal late in the third period after the Capitals led 5-0. The Canadiens outshot Washington 36-25. The three stars were Ovechkin, goaltender Brayden Holtby and Brouwer.
Adding It Up –
Pointing Fingers –
….Carey Price gave up two goals on the game’s first three shots of the game once again damaging the Canadiens fragile psyche. P.K. Subban turned over the puck to Ovechkin on the first goal but Price let a stoppable shot through the five hole at 4:49 of the first period. At the time, the Canadiens were outshooting Washinton 5-0. The ultimate game winner came 1:08 later another apparently soft goal scored by Brouwer.
….Josh Gorges was on the ice for the next three goals. Over the last five games he has been on the ice for 13 of the 25 goals scored against the Canadiens.
….Max Pacioretty may have the softest scoring streak in the league. He scored the meaningless last goal of the game giving him 2 goals, 5 assists over his last six games. But his game has become one of patrolling the perimeter.
….P.K. Subban’s failures in his own end are overshadowing his accomplishments on offence.
….Not Alone – It’s hard to find anyone playing well but you might mention Brandon Prust who had six recorded hits and three blocked shots, Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher up front.
….The Last Word – Coach Michel Therrien in the post game news conference “I was disappointed about every aspect of the game; 5-on-5, penalty killing and the power play.”
The Price Slump – What was appearing to be an Vezina and All-Star type season has gone into the toilet in his last 12 games. Over that stretch he is 4-8-0 with a 2.97 goals against average and with a .884 save percentage. Worse: over the last five games his record is 1-5-0 and his save percentage is .830.
Wakeup Call Needed – The final three games of the season on the road – New Jersey then tough outings in Winnipeg and Toronto.