MONTREAL (AP) — Cole Caufield scored 47 seconds into overtime as the Montreal Canadiens edged the visiting Washington Capitals 3-2 on Saturday night.
Sean Monahan and Brendan Gallagher also scored for Montreal while Dylan Strome scored a pair for Washington which has only won once this season.
Montreal started the game on the front foot, getting the puck deep and establishing a strong forecheck. This led to the game’s first chance just three minutes into the game when Michael Pezzetta intercepted a pass and came streaking in but rang a shot off the post.
“We made a lot of progress tonight. I feel that we missed the net a lot, but generating those chances is important,” said Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis. “It’s easy to get lost as a group, we’re chasing perfection knowing we’ll never get there. It’s impossible to be perfect, but we’re fixing this as we see them.”
Washington’s best chance of the first period came with two minutes left. An offensive-zone turnover from Monahan immediately turned into a two-on-one for the Capitals, who were denied by the outstretched pad of Canadiens netminder Jake Allen. Allen ended up stopping 31 shots.
“Every goalie would rather work more than less, but every game’s different,” said Allen. “I was impressed with the group in front of me, especially after (the 5-2 loss to Minnesota earlier in the week) that’s not us and we wanted to get back to our game.”
One minute later, on the power play, Nick Suzuki spotted Monahan open in front of goal, giving Montreal the lead at the first intermission.
“We trust each other, we believe in the group. At times, things don’t go your way and you have to stick with it,” said Monahan, who scored only the second goal on the man advantage for the club this year. “We got one power-play goal and we could have gotten a few more, I think. Everybody stepped up in a big way.”
Halfway through the second period, Monahan dropped the puck in the slot for Gallagher and doubled Montreal’s lead.
Alex Ovechkin received the puck halfway through the third period and found Strome, cutting the lead to one.
Washington’s second goal came with two minutes left in regulation, sending the game to overtime.
“I thought we did take some positive steps tonight, big picture-wise during all three periods,” said Capitals coach Spencer Carbery. “We’re really struggling to finish and score goals right now so for us to fight back and kill a ton of penalties … I liked the character of the battle.”