MONTREAL | Nicklas Backstrom scored the lone goal in the shootout to help the Washington Capitals defeat the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 on Saturday night at Bell Centre after Eric Fehr first saved them in regulation.
A Travis Moen power-play goal looked like it would be the game-winner, but Fehr backhanded a rebound through Montreal goalie Carey Price’s legs with 11.4 seconds left in regulation.
Fehr’s second of the night and sixth of the season came 4.1 seconds after the Caps called timeout. It was a six-on-four tally with the goaltender pulled and Paul Mara in the penalty box for Montreal. Fehr, who was one of five forwards on the ice, now has nine points in his past 12 games.
The Caps killed off a lengthy two-man advantage for Montreal, but Moen tipped defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron’s shot from the top of the offensive zone past Semyon Varlamov before the second penalty expired 5:34 into the final period.
Moen’s tally was the ninth power-play goal yielded by Washington in the third period that either tied the score or put the Caps’ foe in front.
Washington had forged a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes before the Canadiens rallied. Fehr put the Caps in front when he redirected a shot by Karl Alzner from the left point at 8:47 of the opening period.
Alex Ovechkin made it a 2-0 lead on the team’s next shot on goal. Backstrom slipped him a pass just after they passed the blue line on a three-on-two rush, and Ovechkin ripped one into the top left corner. It was his 18th of the season and fourth in six games since missing six with an upper-body strain near his left shoulder.
The two-time league MVP had two great chances to add another tally in the second period, but Price made two great saves on him — and an even better stop on Jay Beagle’s rebound attempt of the second opportunity.
While the Caps could not crack Price in the middle 20 minutes, the Canadiens pulled even on goals by Jaroslav Spacek and Tomas Plekanec. Spacek’s tally came at 5:40 and just four seconds before Beagle was set to leave the penalty box.
Ovechkin was on the ice to kill off the final seconds of the penalty, but when he tried to intercept Roman Hamrlik’s point-to-point pass and missed it left Spacek wide open to hammer shot through a sea of bodies in front of Varlamov.
Plekanec’s marker came after a wild scramble in front of Varlamov at 13:50. The Caps struggled to clear pucks out of danger in the second half of the middle period, and it led to Plekanec’s sixth goal — a backhanded shot that just slipped inside the right post and missed Michael Cammalleri’s skate.