|Date of game: 4/2/2015
Recap: Montreal vs. Washington
Montreal, QC (SportsNetwork.com) - Alex Ovechkin became the Washington Capitals' all-time goal leader, while Troy Brouwer recorded the game-winner in the fourth round of the shootout to give the club a 5-4 triumph over the Montreal Canadiens.
Ovechkin and Joel Ward both scored twice in regulation, including power-play tallies 73 seconds apart in the third period that briefly erased a 3-2 deficit. The goals were the 473rd and 474th of Ovechkin's career, breaking a tie he shared with Peter Bondra for first place on the Capitals' all-time list entering the contest.
"Obviously it's a huge accomplishment, but records are to be beaten," Ovechkin said. "The most important thing is that is was a huge two points for us."
P.K. Subban gave the Canadiens an important point by netting the tying goal with 4:49 left in the third period, and added a pair of assists in the tough loss.
Both goaltenders struggled for much of the high-scoring affair, with Montreal's Carey Price stopping just 15-of-19 shots and Braden Holtby coming up with 23 stops for the Caps.
Montreal owned a 3-2 lead after two periods following a three-goal barrage in the middle session, but a pair of costly penalties allowed the Capitals to surge ahead behind their lethal power play.
Ovechkin had the rebound of a deflected shot from teammate John Carlson come right to him in the left circle on the first of those 5-on-4 situations. The star sniper's initial attempt was blocked by Habs defenseman Tom Gilbert, but Ovechkin connected on the follow-up to knot the score with 8:54 remaining.
Just 12 seconds after Ovechkin's league-leading 52nd goal of the season, Price was assessed a delay-of-game minor for shooting the puck over the glass, and Ward made the Hart Trophy candidate pay by successfully redirecting Carlson's blast into an open left side with 7:41 to go.
The Capitals went 3-for-4 on the power play for the night.
"Pricey's the best goalie in the league, but it's hard to stop what you can't see," Subban remarked. "They did a good job of putting traffic in front of him."
Montreal pulled even shortly afterward on a power-play chance of its own, however. After Curtis Glencross was sent off for knocking into Price, Subban launched a rocket from near the blue line over Holtby's glove to forge a 4-4 deadlock that lasted into overtime.
Washington had a chance to end in during the extra period, but Eric Fehr's good chance struck the post and his second-chance opportunity was stuffed by Price. Holtby later made a strong save on Max Pacioretty's deflection to bring on the shootout.
Each of the first seven skaters failed during the final phase, including Ovechkin on a left-pad stop by Price in the third round. Brouwer got Price to go low in the fourth, though, and lifted the puck up top to give Washington the two points and head coach Barry Trotz his 600th career win.
"We stuck with it," Holtby said. "You realize when the play's desperate and we did that tonight."
After an uneventful first period in which the Capitals mustered a paltry two shots on goal, the action picked up considerably in the second.
Montreal's Jeff Petry got it started just 58 seconds in on a power play, with the defenseman ripping a shot that beat Holtby to the glove side while using Washington blueliner Karl Alzner as a screen.
Ward pulled the Capitals even by collecting the puck near center ice and skating down the left wing before ripping a wrister over Price's shoulder midway through the period.
Ovechkin then put Washington in front with a highlight-reel power-play score with 5:52 remaining in the period. He skated around a defender, put on the breaks in the Canadiens zone and rifled the puck into the top right corner.
Just 39 seconds after Ovechkin's first goal, Gilbert -- back from a four-game absence caused by a fractured jaw on Mar. 21 -- jumped into the play during a counterattack and landed a wrist shot past Holtby for the equalizer.
Lars Eller put Montreal up 3-2 with 1:21 left in the second, racing down the right side to knock in Dale Weise's well-placed drop pass from behind the Washington net.Game Notes
Carlson recorded three assists ... The Capitals entered Thursday's matchup
1-17-2 on the season when trailing after two periods ... Ovechkin, held
scoreless in each of Washington's two previous meetings with Montreal, now has
a goal against 26 of the league's 29 opponents this season ... The Capitals
have earned at least a point in 14 straight games against Atlantic Division
teams, going 12-0-2 over that stretch ... Washington improved to 8-0-1 in its
last nine visits to the Bell Centre.