The Washington Capitals fell to the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 on Wednesday night at Verizon Center. The Capitals record drops to 44-11-4 (92 points). The Canadiens record improves to 29-27-5. The Capitals next play host to the Minnesota Wild Friday night at Verizon Center. Puck-drop is 7:00 PM.
Coach Trotz moved Mike Richards up to the third-line center and Marcus Johansson down to the fourth-line center. Taylor Chorney, Michael Latta and Mike Weber were the Caps healthy scratches for tonight’s game. The goalie match-up for tonight’s contest, provided by @washcaps:
The Capitals first-period woes continued. The Capitals gave up the games first goal for the 13th time in the last 16 games, and were down 2-0 at the end of the opening frame. Braden Holtby was not sharp, allowing three goals on 18 shots, and was pulled in the second period. Philipp Grubauer was strong in relief. Grubauer has posted an 0.851 goals-against average and a .965 save percentage in his five relief appearances this season.
A fast pace to the start of this one, with the Caps getting several quality scoring chances in the first five minutes of play. Tom Wilson would be whistled for the game’s first penalty, boarding P.K. Suban, at 5:17 of the opening frame, but the Caps penalty-kill would hold the Habs to just one SOG and no damages to the scoreboard. The Canadiens’ Alex Galchenyuk would be the first to light the lamp at 9:09 of the first. The goal was setup by a defensive zone turnover by Dmitry Orlov.
Tom Wilson was called for the game’s second penalty (and second for Wilson), this time for Hooking at 17:17. This time the Habs would make the Caps pay. Brenden Gallagher would knock-in a rebound off of Holtby’s pad at 17:47 to give the Canadiens a 2-0 lead.
The first period would end with the Canadiens leading 2-0. Th Canadiens also lead 14-10 in shots on goal for the first period.
Coach Trotz would once again switch-up the lines to start the second period, this time starting with Ovechkin, Backstrom and Oshie to start second period. However, the Habs would quickly stretch the lead to 3-0 on a knock-in of a rebound by Tomas Fleischmann at 1:54 of the second period.
Braden Holtby would get the hook, and was replaced by Philipp Grubauer. Jason Chimera would get the Caps on the board on a knock-in of a rebound at 5:32, making it 3-1.
The Canadiens would get their three-goal lead back at 12:36 on Alex Galchenyuk’s second goal of the game.
The second period would end with the Canadiens leading 4-1. The Capitals led in shots on goal 26-24 after two periods of play.
Andre Burakovsky would close the gap to a single goal with a wrister from the slot at 17:07 in the third period.
The Habs would hold on for the 4-3 win.