Varlamov, Caps grab series lead in Montreal

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While Montreal outshot the Caps 10-7 through the first 20 minutes, Varlamov kept the Caps in the game as the Habs had much better chances on goal. That proved to be the difference, as once Washington broke on top, they were able to chase Halak from the net with three goals in the early part of the period.

“I though our goal was to come out even [after the first period,” Boudreau said “But our goal was if we could get out of the first period even, and we did, so we felt good about ourselves.”

The Canadiens even got a good chance out of the intermission as well, as Marc-Andrei Bergeron had a good look on Varlamov . Tomas Fleischmann was called for hooking Andrei Markov behind the Montreal cage :54 into the period, giving the Habs a power play.

However, the Caps were the team to cash in just :11 into the Canadiens’ power-play, as Boyd Gordon and Mike Knuble broke in on a 2-on-1 and Gordon hacked a rebound past Halak for the first goal of the game.

“To get that first goal, it made us feel good,” Ovechkin said.

“We got a huge break on that 5-on-4 and that turned the game around for us,” Eric Fehr added.

Varlamov made a nice save on Brian Gionta during the rest of the kill, and the Caps were able to hld the Habs off the board. That proved to be big, since Washington then made it 2-0 with 4:42 gone in the period as Brooks Laich’s long shot from the point eluded Halak.

After Varlamov made a nice save with his mask with just over eight minutes gone in the period, the Caps then broke in on Montreal and Eric Fehr deposited a rebound of a Laich shot past Halak, putting the Caps in control of the contest with three goals in a 7:27 span.

Canadiens coach Jacques Martin then yanked Halak from the net after he allowed three goals on 13 shots, putting in Carey Price — who faced Washington in all four of the team’s regular-season meetings — to see if he could stop the Washington surge.

“We tried to change the rhythm of the game and get the momentum back,” Canadiens coach Jacques Martin said. “There was no message to Jaroslav.”

But, it didn’t stop the Caps, as with the Canadiens forced to open up the flow down by three goals, Alexander Ovechkin took advantage of the extra space he didn’t get in the first period, netting his second goal of the series thanks to a nice behind-the-net feed from Backstrom to put Washington up 4-0 with 6:10 left in the period.

Down by four, Montreal began to unravel, taking a couple of bad minors to let the Caps’ struggling power-play a chance to work out the kinks.

But the Caps — seemingly somewhat content with the status of the scoreboard — didn’t press as much as early they did in the period and eventually Laich took a minor to give Monteal an abbreviated power-play.

With that advantage, Tomas Plekanec finally gave the home crowd something to cheer about when he poked his own rebound 2:25 into the third period, as Montreal has connected with a power-play tally in every game of the series so far.

Boudreau even used his timeout to try and stop Montreal’s momentum.

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About the Author
Ted Starkey

Ted Starkey

Ted Starkey, a Web editor for the continuous news desk, has written for and edited high-traffic websites, including AOL News, AOL Sports, FanHouse.com, USAHockey.com and BuffaloBills.com. He also has covered the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympics, Stanley Cup playoffs, NFL, NHL, MLB and NCAA hockey during his career.

He is a graduate of American University, with a double major in ...

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