Jaroslav Halak stopped 37 of 38 shots and the Canadiens stayed alive in their Eastern Conference Quarter Final series against the Capitals after a 2-1 victory in Washington Friday night.

 The Canadiens scored goals on their third and fifth shots of the game and made them stand up through the final 53 minutes and 59 seconds to gain their second win of the series and their second 2-1 win in Washington.

 Mike Cammalleri opened the scoring at 1.30 of the first period with a shot from the high slot.  It was his third goal of the series.  At  8:04 in the period Travis Moen was left alone in front for a pass from Brian Gionta.  His backhand beat Semyon Varlamov for what turned out to be the winning goal.

Alexander Ovechkin scored his 5th goal of the series early in the second period and the rest was left to Halak who stopped the final 20 shots directed on the Habs goal.

Halak was especially good on chances by Backstrom, Semin and Fleischmann early in the third period. 

The Game Story    (Game Video Below)

First Period-

Setting the Tone– The Canadiens came out strongly again.  Gionta had a terrific scoring chance nine seconds into the game.

First Blood – Andrei Markov pinching into the Capitals zone sent a backhand pass into the high slot for Cammalleri.  Cammalleri put a 40-foot snap shot past Varlamov to make it 1-0.  It was the Canadiens third shot of the game.

Back for More – At 7:01 Brian Gionta working behind the net put a pass out for Travis Moen who was left unattended.  He backhanded it over the blocking glove of Varlamov.  2-0.

Special Teams – The Canadiens’ Ryan O’Byrne picked up a penalty for holding 63 seconds after the Moen goal.  Killing off a penalty, Plekanec had a breakaway that was broken up by a diving Alexander Semin.  Seconds later, still shorthanded Gomez set up Markov who hit the post.  2-0 end of first period.  Washington outshot the Canadiens 15-9.

Second Period-

Ovechkin strikes.  In the fourth minute the Canadiens were caught on an extended shift.  It started with Metropolit and Sergei Kostitsyn plus Markov and O’Byrne apply pressure in the Washington end.  It finished 1:30 later with the same foursome still on the ice at the other end as the Capitals attacked, with Ovechkin finally jamming the puck into the net at 3:52.

Bearing Down – The Canadiens tightened their game. From the goal to the end of the second period the shots on goal were 8-7 for Washington.  After two periods it was 26-19 Washington.

Third Period

Looking for Another Comeback – The Capitals outshot the Canadiens 10-5 through the first 12:02 of the third period.  Halak made glittering stops on Backstrom and then on a Washington power play Semin and Fleischmann and later on Ovechkin’s slapshot. 

Tightening It Up – From 12:02 of the third period to 18:53 the Capitals did not get a shot on goal with Gomez and Moore especially good at keeping them in their own end and the pair of Gill and Gorges doing great work in their own end.  

The Killer – Confusion while Varlamov was trying to get off the ice for the extra attacker led to a Washington too-many-men on the ice penalty with 1:07 remaining.  The Capitals still pulled Varlamov, but 5-on-5 the Capitals managed only two harmless shots.  Final score 2-1 Canadiens.

Summing It Up– Were the Canadiens that good or Washington not on top of their game.  Some of both.  In order to beat the Capitals, the Canadiens had to be very, very good.  Which they were.  The Canadiens spent the night playing with the lead in much the same way, and with the same tension, as the game-one 2-1 victory.  The games looked very similar.  The difference was the support given the Habs defence by backchecking forwards.  It allowed the defencemen to hold up Washington forwards in the neutral zone, something that was noticeably absent on the part of the Capiutals.  Washington has to be really concerned about it’s power play which is now 1 for 24 in the series against Montreal penalty killers.   The Canadiens power play, although 0-for-6 in this game, is 4 for 22 in the series. Next game in the series Monday night at the Bell Centre.  The Canadiens have lost their last six home playoff games.

The Goalscorers – Montreal – Cammalleri (3rd) (Markov-Plekanec); Moen (1st) (Gionta-Gomez).     Washington – Ovechkin ((Knuble-Carlson)

Shots on Goal – Montreal –  9-10-9 = 28    Detroit – 15-11-12 = 38

The Blog Three Stars – First – Jaroslav Halak (stopped 37 of 38 shots);   Second – Mike Cammalleri (Game’s first goal – plus-1  2 shots);  Third – Hal Gill (five blocked shots)

Worth Mentioning – Travis Moen; Scott Gomez; Dominic Moore

Game Video Here