Canadiens Outhustle Sluggish Capitals for 3-2 Win

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Washington Capitals fell to the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 Friday night at Capital One Arena. After a scoreless and mostly lethargic first period, each side registered power play markers in the middle frame to make it 1-1 at the second intermission. The Canadiens would add a rebound goal midway through the third and and empty net goal late in the game before Lars Eller scored his 10th of the season. But it was too little, too late. The Caps will be off on Saturday but return to Cap One to host the Philadelphia Flyers Sunday afternoon. Puck drop is rooster-crowing 12:30 PM. 

Philipp Grubauer (4-5-3, 2.60 GAA, .917 sv%) started in goal for the Capitals. Antti Niemi (0-5-1, 4.85 GAA, .865 sv%) got the start for the visiting Canadiens. The Capitals forward lines and defensive pairs:

Grubauer starts

Scratches: Devante Smith-Pelley and Taylor Chorney were the healthy scratches for the Capitals.

A sluggish start to this one, with both sides struggling to generate much in the way of quality scoring chances. The Capitals went for a span of over 7:30 without generating a shot on goal, and mustered just a single shot on goal in the last 13 minutes of the period.

Andre Burakovsky, who returned to the lineup after a short string of healthy/unhealthy scratches, had two of the best scoring chances for the Caps in the period. Philipp Grubauer made a couple of nice saves to keep the game scoreless.

The period would end without a score. Montreal outshot Washington 8-4 for the first 20 minutes. The Capitals were 0 for 1 on the man advantage in the opening frame. The Caps won the battle at the faceoff dot 65-35%.

The Canadiens would finally dent the twine with a power play goal by Max Pacioretty at 7:08 of the middle frame.

John Carlson would tie the game with a power play goal from the top of the slot at 13:24 of the second period.

The second period would end with the game tied 1-1. After a very slow start, the Capitals outshot the Canadiens 12-7 for the second period, and led 16-15 in SOG after 40 minutes.

The Canadiens would regain the lead with a rebound goal by Paul Byron at 10:41 of the final frame.

The Canadiens would add an empty net goal by Max Pacioretty at 18:42 to make it 3-1. Lars Eller would cut the Habs lead to one with a goal at 19:06 of the final frame, but it wasn’t enough, as the Habs would hang on for the win.


  • Ovechkin recorded an assist on Carlson goal and now sits at 499 career assists.
  • NHL box score is here.

By Jon Sorensen


About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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7 Responses to Canadiens Outhustle Sluggish Capitals for 3-2 Win

  1. Diane Doyle says:

    The Caps were Coyote Ugly tonight. Losing to a poor, slumping team and to their backup goalie who, in a word, has been bad, is Coyote level bad. (Leave it to the Caps to help backup goalies get their stats to a more normal NHL level.)

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