Headline Photo From: habseyesontheprize.com
MONTREAL— 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 as Capitals winger Lars Eller fired the puck at 3:34 of overtime by Canadiens goaltender 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 a wrister from Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin himself even let Price know what he thought of the save, skating by him and patting him on the pads after play was stopped.
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, the left circle. 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 missed three goals by Montreal 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. A mere 48 seconds after that, with the Canadiens on the power play, Jesperi Kotkaniemi threw a harmless puck at the net, and Jeff Petry pounced on the loose puck to score and make it 3-2. 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, as he would be replaced by Braden Holtby after allowing four goals on 22 shots. Holtby was stout in net fending off 22 Canadien shots and did not allow a goal, earning him the win in relief.
Down one late in the period, the Capitals were not done. 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 as Brett Connolly took a fortuitous bounce off the boards after a John Carlson shot and beat a sprawling Price to tie it up.
Thoughts:• Jesperi Kotkaniemi should be on the first wave of the Canadiens power play for the rest of the season. His puck skills and hockey sense are outstanding, 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.• Jeff Petry was unbelievable. He logged over 33 minutes on the ice tallying a goal and an assist with several great defensive plays. He’s such an asset to have in the absence of 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 for Montreal is very weak. They were on the ice for the 4-3 goalagainst 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. The Canadiens looked like a three-line team, something they cannot afford if they want to be playing come spring time.