Green wasn’t able clear the puck at the Capitals blueline and it was kept in by Cammalleri, who broke in and fed Plekanec, who beat Varlamov just inside the post with 5:08 left and quieting the crowd.
The Caps got a late chance to get the fifth goal, as Pouliot went to the box with 4:48 left in regulation for tripping Carlson inside the Washington zone. Washington didn’t convert with the extra man. However, Carlson got his chance on a delayed penalty to Montreal, as he broke in and blasted a feed from Backstrom past Halak with 1:21 left in the third to force the second overtime game of the series.
“It was a last-minute goal so we were all coming in hot,” Carlson said. “We just said, ‘Relax — get back to our game. Let’s not try to do too much.’ Certainly it didn’t work because we went out like a ball of fire, but it was good.”
The session didn’t last long, however, as Backstrom recorded a hat trick with just :31 gone in the extra session, evening the series at one with a shot that beat Halak as the erupted.
The goal could change the complexion of the series, as Washington was able to hold off a strong upset bid with a strong finish.
“We just have to play our game, it doesn’t matter how they play, if we play our game finish checks, shoot the puck, go to the net it is going to be ours,” Ovechkin said afterwards. “We’re going to win. I think if we are going to play the same way we played in the third period [today] we are going to be successful.”
For their part, despite the loss, several Canadiens said they were happy to earn a split on the road.
“We came here for one,” Cammalleri said. “We got our one. Now it’s time to go home and play. … Were still getting better. Were still excited about our potential. It was a good game.”
Boudreau said he was relieved the Caps could rally to take the contest before heading to Montreal for Monday’s Game 3.
“The only way we were going to win tonight was if we decided to go all offense,” he said. “By no stretch did we probably deserve to win, but we got lucky and we did.
“We know we’re not out of the woods. There [are] probably a lot of people that are going to say that Montreal outplayed us for two games and they were on the road and now we’re in their building and we have to play a whole lot better. We have to tighten up obviously if we want to succeed anywhere, whether it’s this series or beyond, but right now were just worried about winning the next game.”
WASHINGTON CAPITALS vs. MONTREAL CANADIENS
(Montreal leads series, 1-0)
Game 1: Montreal 3, Washington 2 (OT)
Game 2: Washington 6, Montreal 5 (OT)
Game 3: April 19 at Montreal, 7 p.m. ET, CSN
Game 4: April 21 at Montreal, 7 p.m. ET, CSN
Game 5: April 23 at Washington, 7 p.m. ET, CSN
Game 6*: April 26 at Montreal, 7 p.m. ET, CSN
Game 7*: April 28 at Washington, 7 p.m., CSN
* = if necessary