Final score: Washington Capitals 3, Montreal Canadiens 2
How it happened: Jay Beagle scored three minutes into the game to give the Caps an early lead, but Washington's hot start was cooled by an 11-minute delay in the first period to fix a hole in the baseboard. When play resumed, Alexander Radulov tied the game at one in the first. Andre Burakovsky restored Washington's lead in the second off a three-on-two rush. Radulov thought he had tied the game, but the goal was waved off for goalie interference as Max Pacioretty dove into Braden Holtby. Nicklas Backstrom extended Washington's lead to 2 in the third. Pacioretty would pull Montreal back within 1, but that would be as close as they would come.
What it means: The win extends Washington’s dominance in Montreal. The Caps have now earned at least a point in 14 straight games at Bell Centre and have not lost in regulation in Montreal since Jan. 10, 2009.
Capitals goal: Jay Beagle from Daniel Winnik and Tom Wilson at 3:02 in the 1st. Winnik entered the offensive zone and drew two Canadiens with him as he skated left. Winnik then dropped a perfect pass off to Beagle in the center at the top of the circles. Beagle ripped a perfect shot right off the crossbar and into the net. Caps 1, Canadiens 0
Canadiens goal: Alexander Radulov from Max Pacioretty and Phillip Danault at 7:32 in the 1st. Nate Schmidt tried to corral the puck after a battle along the boards, but he was a bit lax with the pass allowing Max Pacioretty to get in the way of it and knock it back to Danault. Danault found Radulov who had way too much room to work with and fired a great shot to beat Holtby. Caps 1, Canadiens 1
Capitals goal: Andre Burakovsky from Brett Connolly and Lars Eller at 9:26 in the 1st. Connolly rocketed into the offensive zone on the three-on-two and went cross ice to find Burakovsky. Burakovsky picked his corner and wristed it far side to beat Price. Caps 2, Canadiens 1
Capitals goal: Nicklas Backstrom (power play) from Matt Niskanen at 5:16 in the 3rd. Backstrom and Niskanen played keep away on the power play until Backstrom decided to call his own number and fired a long-range shot that found that back of the net. Caps 3, Canadiens 1
Canadiens goal: Max Pacioretty from Alexander Radulov at 7:49 in the 3rd. Radulov held the buck behind the net and skated out to Holtby's right, then sent a backhand pass to Pacioretty on the left. His initial shot was blocked by Beagle, but Pacioretty corraled the puck and scored on the second opportunity. Caps 3, Canadiens 2
1. Alexander Radulov: Montreal could not generate much offense, so Radulov did it all by himself. He was the most dnageorus player on the ice. He scored the Canadiens' first goal of the game and nearly had a second before it was waved off for goalie interference. Both goals were of beautiful wrist shots. Radulov also added an assist on Pacioretty's goal.
2. Jay Beagle and Daniel Winnik: The penalty kill was clutch Saturday for once as the Caps killed off all three power plays they faced. Considering Beagle and Winnnik were the team's two best penalty killers and also combined for Washington's first goal, it seems unfair to separate the two. Winnik set up Beagle's goal with the nice drop back pass and Beagle finished it off with the nice shot off the crossbar. This is his first game since shaving off the beard and so beardgate continues.
Oh no he won't ☝🏼😂 https://t.co/Rj9sF1GW6M— Taylor Winnik (@TaylorWinnik) February 4, 2017
3. Braden Holtby: He wasn't tested often as Montreal managed only 22 shots for the game, but they made those shots count. Holtby was very strong when called upon especially in a few nervous moments in the third period.
Look ahead: The Caps will provide some Super Bowl pregame entertainment as they return home to face the Los Angeles Kings Sunday at 12 p.m. It is the first of a four-game home-stand for the Caps that will see Carolina, Detroit and Anaheim come to town.
Tell us what you think: Radulov thought he had tied the game at 2 in the second period, but his goal was quickly waved off for goalie interference as Max Pacioretty essentially jumped into Holtby. The goal was correctly waved off, but Pacioretty was not given a penalty for goalie interference. Not every goalie interference call warrants two minutes in the box, but it's hard to get more blatant than Pacioretty. Did the refs make the right call? Was waving off the goal enough or should Pacioretty have gotten two minutes in the sin bin?