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Canadiens vs. Capitals game recap: The Habs respond with a bounce-back effort

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The Canadiens rallied around Carey Price and got a well-earned road victory against Alex Ovechkin’s Capitals.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The night after getting pulled from the net after four goals on 18 shots by the San Jose Sharks, Carey Price made 20 saves on the road against the Capitals to earn his 250th career win.

20161217 5v5SA Corsi Image credit: HockeyStats.ca

The game got off to a racy start, with the Habs having to play a lot of solid defence as the Capitals tried to rattle Price early. Price was solid and looking like the goaltender we and everyone around the league know that he is.

The Habs were clearly rallying around Price, with Shea Weber seemingly blocking everything, and Brendan Gallagher buzzing all around the ice.

Artturi Lehkonen came close to connecting against Braden Holtby after a rush, then succeeded on his wraparound attempt on his next shift with just over five minutes left in the first period to give the Habs the lead heading into the first intermission.

While it’s important to note that Montreal was disciplined overall in the first period, with only Michael McCarron taking a penalty, Torrey Mitchell took one early to start the second, which the Habs successfully killed off. They took a total of five in the second, including a judgment call on Alexei Emelin who joined Nathan Beaulieu in the penalty box, creating a five-on-three situation. The Capitals used the opportunity to even the score thanks to a Nicklas Backstrom snap to the left of Price.

Beaulieu, leaving the box after the goal, tapped his stick to congratulate the officials for the tie. He immediately was given a 10-minute misconduct penalty and made his way to the dressing room with a little over five minutes left in the second.

A little over two minutes later after killing off the rest of Emelin’s penalty, Max Pacioretty, Phillip Danault, and Jeff Petry rushed the Capitals’ zone, and Petry tipped in a Pacioretty shot to regain the lead.

After Price made a save on Alex Ovechkin with 2:27 left in the second, it took the Capitals another 12:55 of playing time to register a single shot on goal into the third period. There were no penalties taken by either team in the final 20 minutes. In the last half of the period, the Capitals were consistently frustrated, unable to get anything started in the Canadiens zone. They put some pressure on after pulling Holtby from his net, but the Canadiens went on to win this one in regulation time by a score of 2-1.

Thoughts:

  • This was a good, solid road game, and an important bounce-back win after a rare regulation loss on home ice, with the stare seen round the world that requires no further introduction.
  • Alex Ovechkin was held to three shots on goal. Three. Much was made before this game about Carey Price’s record against the Capitals and Ovechkin. Three shots, zero goals.
  • After approximately 20 hours of speculation and, frankly, pandemonium in Habs nation following the 4-2 loss to the Sharks, this team showed determination and yes, character. And no quit.
  • Late in the second period, Shea Weber took a shot to what looked to be the one area you never, ever want to receive a puck. He came back in the third period. I think fans realized just how bad it would be to have Shea out for an extended absence during those mutually and equally excruciating 25 minutes.
  • Carey Price had an earnest and honest post-game scrum, in which he addressed The Stare from Friday night. Yes, he was angry. He was angry at everyone, even himself. And everyone is all good now.
  • The Habs saw yet another teammate leave the game, this time Andrei Markov with a lower-body injury. The injury list now includes Alex Galchenyuk, David Desharnais, Greg Pateryn, Andrew Shaw, and Sven Andrighetto, pending an update on Markov.
  • Michel Therrien coached a good game, and Carey Price only faced 21 shots. Character win in response to Friday night’s loss.