The Habs were in an uncharacteristic position of defeating the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night 4-3. It was a relatively rare road win for Montreal who have struggled lately with their last victory away from home coming on January 23 in Toronto. Considering the Capitals were 9-1 in the past 10 games, it is doubtful any oddsmakers were giving Montreal any chance to steal two points against the team with the best record in the NHL.
Not only did Montreal win, but they started the game with a 3-0 lead early in the second period, which led the Washington coach to pull Vezina candidate Braden Holtby who managed only 15 saves during his time in the nets.
While the Capitals were playing their third game in four nights, they still provided some tough opposition for the Habs, especially in the second and third periods when they outshot Montreal and started to swing the momentum in their favour.
Considering the fact that Washington has the highest rated offence in the Eastern Conference and the second best in the NHL, Montreal limited their superstar forward Alex Ovechkin to one assist in the game.
Tomas Fleischmann scored his 10th goal of the season for the Habs’ third goal, and Dale Weise added an assist to Montreal’s first goal. Both players are heavily rumoured to be traded before next Monday’s trade deadline, so their contributions were likely noticed by other teams’ scouts and GMs.
The Canadiens now have a couple of days off before facing the Toronto Maple Leafs at home Saturday night, for another Hockey Night In Canada broadcast classic.
HW Habs’ 3 Stars of the Night
First Star: Alex Galchenyuk
The Habs’ standout player was Alex Galchenyuk, who scored two goals and was dangerous almost every shift on the ice.
Stats: 2 goals, even rating, 2 PIMS, 5 shots, 13:31 TOI
Second Star: Mike Condon
Condon stopped 33 out of the 36 shots he faced, a few of which were during scramble situations in the crease when the Capitals were really pressing for a goal.
Stats: 3.00 GAA, .917 SV%
Third Star: Andrei Markov
The Habs veteran on the blueline looked solid with 2 assists and steady play, leading all defencemen in ice time.
Stats: 2 assists, -1 rating, 26:32 TOI
Honourable Mention: Mark Barberio
Barberio managed one assist tonight, with a +2, and two shots on goal.
Stat of the Night:
Montreal became the first Canadian NHL team to defeat Washington in regulation time this season. Prior to Wednesday’s game, the Capitals held a 12-0-2 record against Canadian opponents.