Travis Moen, David Desharnais and Daniel Briere gave the Canadiens their 3-0 lead before Ovechkin scored the first of his two goals on a power play with 23 seconds remaining in the first period. Josh Gorges collected two assists in the game. Shots on goal were 31-27 for the Canadiens but Washington outshot the Canadiens 11-4 in the third period.
The win moved the Canadiens a point ahead of the Capitals into sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Adding It Up –
Rock Solid – Among Peter Budaj’s 25 saves were stops on clear breakaways by Aaron Volpatti and Niklas Backstrom early in the second period with the score 3-1 and then Joel Ward while the Canadiens were on a power play midway through the third period. Budaj is now 4-1-0 this season. All of those games have been on the road. Combining the last two seasons, he is 12-2-1.
All Aboard – Hard to imagine a more complete effort from the goal out. Only three members of the Canadiens failed to register a shot, Douglas Murray, Josh Gorges and Alexei Emelin. The Desharnais line had nine, so did Plekanec/Briere/Gionta.
The Fourth Liners – Ryan White/Travis Moen and Michael Bournival were a big factor in this one. On the first goal, it was White who stripped the puck at the Washington line for Bournival, who then set up Travis Moen. White saved a goal when he dove to poke the puck away from Ovechkin as he was about to put the puck into the open side late in the first period.
Body On The Line – With the score 3-2 and the Capitals hungry to tie it in the final three minutes, John Carlson had time to tee it up in the high slot with traffic in front of Budaj. Michael Bournival fell flat to block the shot and took it off what appeared to be his right foot. He had to be helped to the dressing room, his night over after eleven very solid shifts.
Tough Assignment – Michel Therrien didn’t have last change so he was forced to alternate the Markov/Subban pairing and Gorges/Emelin against Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin was kept to five shots on goal, only two of them in the third period, which can be considered a victory of sorts. His first goal was a fluke. On the second, Subban appeared to have him wrapped up in front but he got his stick free to deflect the puck past Budaj. Fifty goal scorers do that sort of thing.
Stand-Up Guy – Midway through the first period, Troy Brouwer ran Andrei Markov into the end zone with a borderline high hit. Subban immediately stopped in and fought Brouwer. It wasn’t much of a fight as you might imagine, but the thought was there and definitely filed away by Subban’s teammates.
Eye Catcher – Igor Kravchuk was scouting the game for the Russian Olympic Hockey team. Andrei Markov is an automatic but Alexei Emelin is quickly playing himself into consideration too. An assist on the game winner, four hits, 2 blocked shots. And that sequence around the six minute mark of the second period when he forced Brooks Laich wide and then all the way around the net into the other corner said everything we need to know about the state of his rebuilt right knee.
Also Worth Noting – …..The whole team turned up. Three goals from three different lines. David Desharnais scored his first goal since last April. Travis Moen scored his first goal in 47 games and Daniel Briere got the game winner and is looking like a contributor playing on a line with Plekanec and Gionta. …..The Eller/Galchenyuk/Prust line produced only two shots, neither very threatening. That’s probably what life will be like without Brendan Gallagher. …….Max Pacioretty was the best part of the best offensive line. Five shots on goal, five more were blocked. ….P.K. Subban has had better nights on the defensive side of the puck. While not totally his fault, he was burned a couple of times on plays that became breakaways that Budaj then saved. At times he looked like his game was a little out of synch ……This is the first time in November’s ten games that the Canadiens have been able to put together back-to-back wins.
Moving On – The Canadiens chartered home after the game. It’s Pittsburgh Saturday night at the Bell Centre. The Penguins beat the Islanders 4-3 Friday night on Sidney Crosby’s goal with 1:16 remaining. For all of the Canadiens off-and-on struggles this month, they are only four points behind the Penguins and Bruins and first place in the Eastern Conference.