Canadiens vs. Capitals game recap: Manic Monday nighter had a bit of everything
Montreal and Washington combine for another classic.
For the second time this season, the Montreal Canadiens and the Washington Capitals played a classic back-and-forth game. This time, it was Washington that overcame a deficit to win 5-4 in overtime.
Lars Eller scored at 3:34 of overtime as he fired the game-winner past Carey Price.
Price, despite allowing five goals, was outstanding in defeat making several great saves among his 29 on the night including in the dying seconds off of Alex Ovechkin, which will be on the highlight reels for the rest of the season. Ovechkin himself even let Price know what he thought of the save.
Ovechkin got the better of Price twice in the game, scoring his second just 1:02 into the third period on a five-on-three from his typical spot. That goal tied the game at 4-4.
Montreal trailed 2-1 after the first period, but if you were late to the start of the second period, you may not have realized it as Montreal scored three goals in just 1:15 within the first 1:35 of the period.
Brendan Gallagher got the scoring started just 20 seconds into the period when he drove to the net and converted a Phillip Danault pass. Just 48 seconds after that, the Canadiens were on the power play and Jesperi Kotkaniemi threw the puck at the net, and Jeff Petry pounced on the loose puck to score and make it 3-2.
Then, shortly after that, Kenny Agostino tipped the Artturi Lehkonen shot for his first goal as a Montreal Canadien to make it 4-2. That goal would chase Pheonix Copley from the game, and he would be replaced by Braden Holtby after allowing four goals on 22 shots. Holtby did not allow a goal on 22 shots in relief and earned the win.
Washington would get one back before the end of the period. Nicklas Backstrom fired a one timer past Price on a nice feed from Christian Djoos.
Mike Reilly opened the scoring when he scored a highlight reel goal, walking in from the point, going around Devante Smith-Pelly, and beating Copley to give the Canadiens a 1-0 lead.
Washington tied the game with less than seven minutes remaining in the frame. After a turnover in the offensive zone, the Capitals came the other way and Brett Connolly took a fortuitous bounce off the boards after a John Carlson shot and beat a sprawling Price.
Tom Wilson pounced on the loose puck in the Habs zone, and found Ovechkin who snuck behind Jordie Benn’s coverage to give the Capitals a 2-1 lead less than two minutes later.
The Canadiens would try to tie it up before the end of the period when Agostino hit Smith-Pelly, who violently went into the boards, knocking off his skate blade, and then had a chance on Copley that was stopped. Matt Niskanen then went after Agostino and got an additional two minute penalty for roughing as the two hugged it out.
Montreal’s power play could not capitalize.
Noah Juulsen took two shots to the face in the first period, and did not return. He had a noticeable welt on the side of his face and went to the hospital for further evaluation.
- Carey Price had the best game a goaltender who allowed five goals could ever have. Sure, it’s not great to give up five goals but he made some incredible saves and for the third straight game he was fundamentally sound. He probably would have liked the Eller goal back, but the changeup fooled him and Eller had all the time in the world to shoot. He had to be better and to his credit, he has been.
- Jesperi Kotkaniemi should be on the first wave of the power play for the rest of the season. His puck skills and hockey sense are really great, and he may just be what the team needs to break out of their slump. It’s no coincidence they scored as soon as he got a chance with the big guns.
- Mikey Reilly should not be a healthy scratch anymore this season. He’s not perfect by any means, but the positives he brings to the lineup are too big to ignore.
- Jeff Petry was unbelievable. Over 33 minutes after Juulsen’s injury with a goal and an assist and several great defensive plays. He’s such an asset to have in the absence Shea Weber. Being a #1 D may not be his ideal role, but to have someone like that who can step into that role is huge.
- The fourth line needs to be better. They were on the ice for the 4-3 goal for whatever reason against Backstrom and Ovechkin, and barely saw any ice time after that. The line had one 15 second shift in the third period, that ended in a penalty in the defensive zone. The Canadiens cannot afford to be a three line team going forward, especially at home. Something needs to change./