The Canadiens deserved better that the final result of this game.  The Capitals were outshooting the Canadiens 12-4 when they scored their second goal.  Then they took the rest of the night off as the Canadiens outshot them 37-21 but could only muster the two goals that allowed them to tie the game.  It was the 15th time this season that the Canadiens have lost a game after regulation time.  Combining regulation and overtime/shootouts, it was the Canadiens 50th loss of the year.

Adding It Up –

…..Putting It Together Tomas Plekanec was the Canadiens best forward for the second straight night.  His goal was highlight reel stuff.  He took a perfect pass from Andrei Markov in full flight, pushed the puck past Roman Hamrlik and then reached around a flicked a shot under the crossbar.  He took eight shots in the game, five of them on target and was outstanding on both the penalty killing and power play units..

…...Past Due – It was Max Pacioretty’s work that led to the Erik Cole goal.  He had another excellent night on offense which included five shots on goal and three scoring chances.  Pacioretty has taken 43 shots and had 35 scoring chances over the last eleven games without scoring.

……Monitoring the ComebackAndrei Markov, who left the Ranger game with a injury to his left leg, bounced right back with probably his best game of the ten since he returned to the lineup.  His passing was pin-point including the one that sent Plekanec in for the Canadiens second goal.  Three of the nine shots he took were on goalHis hit Plekanec with a perfect pass to set up the Canadiens second goal; three of his nine

……Grinding – Lars Eller, Michael Blunden and Blake Geoffrion had a very good night, especially EllerEller’s intensity has gone up a notch over the last couple of weeks.  His linemates may not have the same talent, but they worked very hard with Blunden and Geoffrion finishing their checks and making life uncomfortable for the Capitals along the boards.  They kept the Ovechkin/Backstrom line off the scoresheet.     Six of the Canadiens 21 hits came from that line.

…..Subban – That dipsy doodle act that P.K. Subban made to get himself in front of the Washington goal was worth the price of admission if you were a Canadiens fan.  He turned two members of the Capitals inside out, took a shot and then nearly scored on the rebound.  Eleven shots from Subban, five on-goal.  And he nearly won the game with a shot off the faceoff with half a second left in overtime.

……Man Advantage – The Canadiens power play looked exciting again.  The were 0-for-4 but they produced eleven shots on goal.  The difference was Subban and a much more engaged Markov on the points and some bodies in front of the Washington net.

Also Worth Mentioning…..Brad Staubitz was a little more prominent in the game than you might expect from someone who had six shifts and 5:32 ice time all of it in the first two periods.  He had a scoring chance and stepped in twice to cool off efforts by the Capitals to rough things up.  When Petteri Nokelainen left the game with an injury  in the third minute of the second period, his playing time all but disappeared.  ……Rene Bourque seemed to be a little more involved which may have been a function of the kind of game Plekanec was having.  If nothing else, he seems to take some responsibility when it comes to killing penalties.  …..Peter Budaj, like his teammates, seemed to take half a period to get into the game.  After that he was very good.  He still can’t seem to buy a win, but that’s the way it is with this season’s Canadiens.

Ahead – The Canadiens will play Tampa Bay Wednesday at the Bell Centre, travel to Carolina for Thursday and wrap up their season at home against Toronto.

The Draft Lottery Race – Overall Standings Updated

In games affecting the bottom third of the league standings, both the Canadiens and Tampa picked up loser’s points; Anaheim, the Islanders and Carolina lost and Anaheim, the Islanders and Carolina were losers.  Edmonton was idle after losing to Los Angeles Friday night.

22nd – Tampa Bay            79 pts.  4 games remaining

23rd – Carolina                  78 pts.  3 games remaining

24th – Anaheim                 77  pts. 4 remaining

25th – NY Islanders          77 pts.  5 remaining

26th –  Toronto                   77 pts.  3 remaining

27th – Minnesota               76 pts.  4 remaining

28th – Canadiens               73 pts.  3 remaining

29th – Edmonton               71 pts.  4 remaining

30th – Columbus                61 pts.  3 remaining