Power Play Woes Continue as Capitals Sink Canadiens 3-0
The Bell Centre welcomed back a familiar face on Wednesday night, as Roman Hamrlik made his return to Montreal for the first time since signing with the Capitals in the offseason.
First things first, though: a more unusual kind of retribution. Rene Bourque, just two games removed from a suspension for a hit on Washington's Nicklas Backstrom when he was still with the Calgary Flames, expected to be confronted regardless of his new uniform. Sure enough, barely a minute into the opening twenty, he went at it with the Caps' Matt Hendricks ....and that was that.
Meanwhile, Drummondville native Mathieu Perreault got his team on the board with his fourth goal of the season. Marcus Johansson doubled the Capitals' lead with a little help from Hamrlik and the Habs struggled to counter, even when presented with a myriad of man-advantage opportunities.
The second period began with a little more promise. After more failed power plays, Rene Bourque burst in off the left wing and rang a shot off the post that seemed to wake up the Bell Centre--at least until Mathieu Darche took a four-minute high-sticking penalty that enabled Alexander Ovechkin to get his ninth goal in his last 14 games.
The only Hab that seemed to get anything going was Scott Gomez, who had three shots on goal in the second period alone. But the Capitals headed into their dressing room with an unanswered three-goal lead.
The worst man-advantage in the league got a triple-shot of action all at once in the final frame, as John Erskine went off for six minutes (two for elbowing, four for a high stick). It was punctuated by a Max Pacioretty interference call but neither penalty led to a goal, and despite the Canadiens outshooting the Capitals 17-6 in the third period, Washington netminder Michal Neuvirth was able to secure the sixth shutout of his career.
Montreal next plays on Friday, against the Pittsburgh Penguins, before heading into Toronto less than 24 hours later to play the Maple Leafs. The Bell Centre will resume hosting again next Wednesday as the Detroit Red Wings will be in town for the last game before the All-Star Break.
★Michal Neuvirth, Washington Capitals (31 saves, 1.000 SV%)
★★Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (1G, +1, 1 SOG,18:37 TOI)
★★★Mathieu Perreault, Washington Capitals (1G, +1, 1 SOG, 6:09 TOI)
Shots on Goal