Capitals shake off some rust to beat the Canadiens without Alex Ovechkin

The play no longer most effective gave the Capitals a two-goal lead heading into the 3rd length in their eventual Four-2 win Monday night time at Bell Centre. It additionally encompassed what the workforce’s first sport out of its bye week were missing: buzz and grit.

Kuznetsov’s hustle and creativity, ­Oshie’s consciousness and Vrana’s natural scoring talent have been on complete show, and so they sparked sufficient momentum to hold Washington for the remainder of the night regardless of a past due push by way of the Canadiens.

Vrana’s tally used to be his 8th up to now 9 video games, and his 23rd general, and the Capitals (34-11-Five) prolonged their successful streak to 4.

“I don’t assume it is only me,” Vrana stated of his sizzling streak. “I believe it’s our complete line. As you’ll see, particularly lately, that target, it used to be an excellent forecheck from either one of my [linemates]. . . . The road is clicking lovely just right. We create possibilities always.”

After taking a Three-1 lead into the second one intermission, Washington noticed its lead begin to disappear halfway throughout the 3rd length towards the humming Canadiens. Dale Weise scored to make it Three-2 at 7:30, simply moments after an obvious Montreal target used to be waved off as a result of Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby pulled a rebound off the target line sooner than the puck absolutely crossed it.

Montreal endured to check the Capitals within the ultimate 12-plus mins however failed to finish the comeback. Nicklas Backstrom sealed the win with an ­empty-netter with 23 seconds left.

The Capitals received with out captain Alex Ovechkin, who served his one-game suspension for skipping the NHL All-Celebrity Sport. The Capitals are 15-14-2 within the 31 video games Ovechkin has overlooked since 2005-06, his rookie season.

“First sport again, Ovechkin out and at the highway, it isn’t the very best process,” heart Lars Eller stated. “However we discovered a option to win lately, and that’s, I believe, all shall we ask for.”

Ovechkin’s absence intended Richard Panik used to be at the first line with Backstrom and Tom Wilson. Travis Boyd, who hadn’t performed in 8 video games, slotted in at the 3rd line to fill the lacking ahead spot and contributed a target early in the second one length.

With the shuffling some of the ahead strains and a few obvious rust alongside the blue line main to a few defensive breakdowns, Holtby used to be examined during the sport. He recorded 14 saves on 15 pictures within the 3rd length and completed with 31 saves general to select up his first win since Jan. Five. Holtby rebounded after you have pulled within the closing sport sooner than the wreck, when he gave up 4 objectives on 22 pictures within the first two classes towards the New York Islanders.

“I believe it used to be an incredible rebound for him after New York,” Eller stated. “Final sport used to be tricky on him, I’m positive, so I’m actually satisfied for him that he got here again with a efficiency like he did this night. And I believe he used to be our highest participant, particularly within the 3rd.”

The Canadiens jumped out to a 1-Zero lead simply 1:55 into the sport when a defensive breakdown by way of the Capitals left Montreal defenseman Jeff Petry extensive open in entrance of the online on an unconventional three-on-two wreck. However Washington’s rust started to put on off as the sport went on.

Wilson tied the rating at 1 with 90 seconds left within the first length. Enjoying on a shuffled first power-play unit lacking Ovechkin, Wilson slammed the puck into the again of the online after gathering a pointy backhand go from Vrana at the back of the online for his 15th target of the season.

Wilson later joked that whilst Vrana’s go used to be proper on his stick, Vrana “took just a little too lengthy” with Canadiens goaltender Carey Value out of place as Wilson got here charging towards the online.

“I’m like, ‘Let’s pass!’ After which he were given it to me, after which I snuck it thru him,” Wilson stated with amusing. “However, no, he’s taking part in actually smartly. He’s having an excellent season, and it’s amusing to be available in the market with him each time you might be.”

The Capitals’ persistent play went 1 for three after it used to be Three for 27 heading into the sport. The tweaked best unit integrated Oshie taking part in in Ovechkin’s standard spot within the left faceoff circle, with John Carlson up best, Wilson in entrance, Backstrom at the wall and Vrana down low.

“Clearly there’s some new body of workers, new structure available in the market with out ‘O,’ ” Wilson stated. “Simply attempt to have amusing with it and execute when we will, and clearly [it was] a large target.”

The Capitals took their first lead 2:03 into the second one length when the puck bounced their means. Boyd nudged the puck into the crease, and it deflected off Petry’s skate and previous Value. Boyd used to be credited with the target, his 3rd of the season.

After Vrana’s easy game-winner at 14:51 of the second one length, the Capitals hung on, and Holtby’s cast night time didn’t pass to waste.

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