The Capitals hopes to take advantage of what will be a rare home game in the next 33 days fell short as Montreal defeated Washington 3-2 at Verizon Center. The Caps entered the game with one of the best home records in the NHL and Friday night’s loss was just their second in regulation on home ice and snapped the team’s 3-game home ice winning streak. The only other team to beat the Caps in 60 minutes at Verizon is New Jersey.
The Canadiens came out with a burst in the opening period outshooting the Capitals 14-7. At one point the Habs had an 8 to 1 advantage in shots against goalie Michal Neuvirth, who made his first appearance of the season after being recalled from Hershey a few days ago. Neuvirth seemed to gain confidence as the period went along, and the Caps scored the first goal of the game at 11:52. Eric Fehr beat Montreal goalie Carey Price with a quick shot from inside the circle and the Caps scored first for the 17 time in 22 games. Mathieu Perreault and Mike Green had the assists. Green would end up with two assists in the game, the thrid straight game he has had a pair of helpers.
Montreal would do all the scoring in the second period. Travis Moen and Tomas Plekanec scored on two of the Canadiens first three shots in the middle frame. The Caps outshot Montreal 11 to 4 and quality chances against Carey Price were tough to come by. The defense pairing of Roman Hmrlik and Jaroslav Spacek were given the duty of checking the Alex Ovechkin line and each logged over 21 minutes of ice time while. Ovechkin was held to one shot on goal for the second game since his return from injury. Defenseman John Carlson made his NHL debut and logged 17:24 of ice time, had 1 shot and was credited with 5 hits. Carlson also hit the goal post in the second period.
The Capitals power play unit entered the game second in the league behind Philadlphia but failed to score on three chances. Montreal had just two chances with the extra man but made it count. Mike Cammalleri’s blast past Neuvirth gave Montreal a 3-1 lead with only 7:31 to play in the final period. It was a blistering shot from the top of the circle. Brendan Morrison scored his seventh goal of the season with 2:32 to give the Caps a chance. Montreal’s Maxim Lapierre was called for hooking at 18:08 to give the Caps their third power play of the night. Bruce Boudreau pulled Neuvirth in favor of the sixth attacker, and the Caps did get their chances against Price with time winding down. Perhaps the best chance came from Tomas Fleischmann who just couldn’t get the puck over the Montreal goalie, but it’s one of Fleischmann’s few missed chances of the season and his 9-game point streak came to and end.
Carey Price ended the night with 32 saves on 34 shots. Michael Neuvirth stopped 19 of 22. It’s back to work in less than 24 hours with a faceoff against Toronto. It’s Hockey Night in Canada for a group that will have to get used to living out of a suitcase for the next month.
Originally posted on CSNWashington.com