Capitals Hold Off Habs, 4-2; Jakub Vrana Scores Seventh In Eight Games

Photo: Francois Lacasse/Getty Images

The Washington Capitals crunched the Montreal Canadiens by a score of 4-2 at Bell Centre on Monday night in their first game following their mandated bye-week to earn their fourth straight win. The victory lifted the Capitals six points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins for first place in the Metropolitan Division with both teams having played 50 games. Goaltender Braden Holtby made 31 saves in the win, only his second since December 21.

Capitals’ Lines at Canadiens

Forward Richard Panik took captain Alex Ovechkin’s spot on the first-line. Ovechkin served his one-game suspension for skipping the 2020 NHL All-Star Weekend in St. Louis. Center Travis Boyd drew into the lineup for the first time since December 3 and took Panik’s spot on the third-line.

First Period

Defenseman Jeff Perry backhanded one under Holtby’s right pad after splitting the Capitals’ defense and getting sprained on a semi-breakaway by forward Tomas Tatar to make it 1-0 Canadiens 1:55 into the game.

Forward Tom Wilson buried forward Jakub Vrana’s spin-o-rama feed from behind the net in front through goaltender Carey Price’s five-hole to tie it on the power-play with 1:30 left in the first. The goal extended Wilson’s point-streak to four games, where he has two goals and four points.

The Capitals led 12-9 in shots, 4-3 in blocked shots, had six giveaways while the Canadiens had seven, and scored on one of their two power-play opportunities in the first.

The Canadiens led 3-2 in takeaways and failed to convert on their lone advantage in the opening stanza.

Each team won 50% of the draws, had seven hits, and gave away the puck seven times through 20 minutes.

Second Period

Boyd got credit for a goal after he banked the rebound off of Petry’s left skate and past Price from the crease to give the Capitals their first lead of the night at 2:03.

Forward Jakub Vrana ripped one through Price’s wickets after center Evgeny Kuznetsov laid a backhand pass from the goal-line while falling to make it 3-1 with 5:09 left in the period. Forward T.J. Oshie deflected the pass onto Vrana’s stick. It was Vrana’s third goal in as many games and eighth in his last nine.

The Capitals led 28-18 in shots, including 16-9 in the second, 19-12 in hits, scored on one of their three power-plays, and had 12 giveaways while the Canadiens had 13 through 40 minutes.

The Canadiens led 8-7 in blocked shots, 5-3 in takeaways, won 61% of the draws, and failed to score on three power-play opportunities in the first two periods.

Third Period

Forward Dale Weise got the puck in front of Holtby after catching a pass from center Nick Suzuki from up top, out-waited him, and tucked it into an open net to cut the Capitals’ lead to one 7:30 into the third.

Center Nicklas Backstrom backhanded one from the red line and into the empty-net to double the Capitals’ lead with 22.1 to go.

The Capitals led 41-33 in shots, 28-23 in hits, and scored on one of their three power-plays.

The Canadiens led 15-12 in third-period shots, 15-10 in blocked shots, 7-3 in takeaways, won 54% of the draws, had 17 giveaways while the Capitals had 22, and failed to score on three power-play opportunities.

The Capitals improved to 13-2-0 against the Atlantic Division this season with the win.

The Capitals host the Nashville Predators on Wednesday night. Action from Capital One Arena can be seen on NBCSN’s “Wednesday Night Hockey” broadcast beginning at 7:30 PM ET.

Box score

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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9 Responses to Capitals Hold Off Habs, 4-2; Jakub Vrana Scores Seventh In Eight Games

  1. Clifford Keefe says:

    Salivating at the thought of McMichael and Vrana sniping from the same line with Backstrom, Kuznetsov or Oshie dishing to them…

    Clifford

  2. Day One Caps Fan says:

    Solid road game, not bad after the long layoff. Even Hole-by wasn’t bad. I’ll take it

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