The Washington Capitals came from behind with a goal late in the third period and won a four round shootout for a 3-2 win Friday night at the Verizon Centre. Mikhail Grabovski took a pass from Eric Fehr to tie the game with 5:32 remaining to tie the game and then Grabovski scored the winning goal in the fourth round of the shootout. Fehr scored the other goal for the Capitals.
For the Canadiens it was Daniel Briere and Tomas Plekanec. Plekanec and Brian Gionta each had two-point nights. Shots on goal were 37-26 for the Canadiens.
Adding It Up –
Cup Half Full – In two tough games in eight days in Washington, the Canadiens take three of a possible four points. There was nothing wrong with the way the Canadiens approached the game except the final result a game that included a dominant first period and an excellent full team work ethic.
Cup Half Empty – The Canadiens four game winning streak comes to an end. For the first time in 12 road games the Canadiens fail to score a power play goal and for the first time all season they fail to win when taking a lead into the third period.
The Dominant First – Again the Canadiens played shutdown in the first period and played off their strong forecheck to outshot the Capitals 13-4 and take a 1-0 lead. In reality from the five minute mark to the period end, the Canadiens outshot the Capitals 9-0.
In Their Face – Over the last week the Canadiens have faced Washington twice and Pittsburgh once. P.K. Subban has been given the job of going head to head against two of the league superstars, Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. Neither of them had very comfortable nights. Sometime in February Team Canada is going to have to face Russia in the Olympics. Ovechkin would be a much happier hockey player if Subban were to be left off Team Canada’s roster.
The Other P.K. – The Capitals, led by Alex Ovechkin, have the NHL’s third ranked power play. The Canadiens shut them down 4 times in the game, including a 3:47 stretch in the first period when first Gionta and then White were sent off and the Capitals failed to get a shot on goal. The Canadiens entered the game with the NHL’s third best road penalty killing. They came out of it as the league’s best at 91.9% on the road.
“Stay Out of the Box” – Washington coach Adam Oates first pre-game words for his team. And then did, and even then nearly paid. Only two times shorthanded and on the second power play with the Canadiens leading 2-1 in the third period the Canadiens put five shots on Braydon Holtby including three game-savers in quick succession from Andrei Markov at the goalmouth.
Worth Noting – ….The Capitals threw everything they could at Brendan Gallagher but the stick rack and couldn’t make him let up. Four shots on goals and he blocked a couple. ….They didn’t show on the scoresheet but the Desharnais/Pacioretty/Gallagher line was the Canadiens most dangerous. ……Brandon Prust with Lars Eller and Alex Galchenyuk is simply not working. The effort is there, but nothing is clicking. Time to move Michael Bournival up to form Kid Line.2. ……Bournival, playing on the fourth line had four shots on goal in only 6 ½ minutes of ice time. ….It may be the company he’s keeping (Plekanec & Gionta) but Daniel Briere has a completely different look to his game. In the past he was known for sticking his nose in the dirty areas. That seems to have returned. The opening goal was an example as he teamed with Plekanec to win a puck battle behind the net and came out to get to whacks before he took a heavy hit from the defence. …..Brian Gionta and Tomas Plekanec always seem to focal points in games like this. Plekanec – 1 goal, 1 assist. Gionta – 2 assists.
Moving On – The Canadiens chartered home right after the game. They face Toronto at the Bell Centre Saturday night in the third game of seven in eleven nights. Then it’s New Jersey home and home, Monday and Wednesday.