The Washington Capitals came into Montreal having played the same eighteen basic skaters for their season’t first thirty-nine games. The Canadiens had seven players sitting the game out with injuries, six of them regulars.
There was a time when you could beat the Capitals by taking advantage of the careless way they play defense. That’s no longer the case under head coach Barry Trotz.
And, face it, even when both teams are healthy, top to bottom Washington puts a lineup on the ice that has fewer holes in than does the Canadiens.
Tomas Plekanec scored a goal. That can only be a good thing in the dog of season he’s having. Not only that, his line with Artturi Lehkonen and Paul Byron was the Canadiens best.
Plekanec registered five shots and had some really good looks around the Washington nets, which is promising.
….Hard to blame a goaltender in this game but, Carey Price has been letting in more than his usual share of goals in recent days. Sixteen of them in his last five starts. Price had to deal with 39 Washington shots. To survive this night there would have had to be a few miracles. There were none on this night.
….It’s always fun to watch the kids. As he gains confidence, Mike McCarron is starting to use his size to advantage. He led the Canadiens with four hits. He and Nikita Scherbak were given more than eleven minutes of ice time which indicates a level of confidence in their play from the coaching staff. Sherbak generated four shots, two of them on goal. Lehkonen had a fairly good night as well, as part of the Plekanec line.
….Nathan Beaulieu started the season as a third-pairing defenseman getting 17 minutes of ice time. Against Washington he led his teammates with just under 28 minutes (27:50). Twenty-five plus minutes has become a regular thing for Beaulieu these days. There were times when it was felt Marc Bergevin would need to go out looking for help on defense. With the emergenc of Beaulieu it’s not as big an issue now.
….Not a great night for Jeff Petry who was caught out on both the second and third goals. Evgeny Kuznetsov undressed him on Washington’s second goal which came 54-seconds after Plekanec had tied the game. The Canadiens had little to show after that.
MOVING ON –
On the road again. And back-to-back games for the third straight week. Wednesday in Winnipeg and Thursday at Minnesota and then home for the Rangers on Saturday.