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Caps top Canadiens behind Neuvirth's shutout

Jan 19, 2012 - 4:09 AM
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Michal Neuvirth made 31 saves en route to his second shutout of the season and sixth of his career Wednesday as the Washington Capitals blanked the Montreal Canadiens, 3-0, at Bell Centre.

Alex Ovechkin, Mathieu Perreault and Marcus Johansson scored for the Capitals, who bounced back from a 3-0 loss at home to the New York Islanders on Tuesday.

Carey Price was tagged for all three goals on just 16 shots in defeat for the Canadiens, who could not carry momentum over from a 4-1 win over the New York Rangers on Sunday.

Washington opened the scoring 4:41 into the first period when Perreault got a nice pass in the neutral zone from Dmitry Orlov, gained the blue line, weaved to the right circle and fired a quick wrister past the blocker side of Price.

The Caps extended their lead to 2-0 at 8:23 of the opening period after Troy Brouwer corralled a loose puck in the neutral zone and raced up the right wing. He found Johansson cutting to the net, and the second-year center warded off Canadiens forward Andrei Kostitsyn and popped it short side past Price.

Following a high-sticking double-minor to Montreal forward Mathieu Darche at the 7:53 mark of the second period, the Capitals were given a four-minute power play took advantage of the extended time with the extra man.

Washington gained control of the puck in the offensive end when Johansson stole the puck from Josh Gorges and fed it back to Dennis Wideman at the left point, which allowed the Caps to get set up.

Wideman rotated down along the wall and sent a pass to Alexander Semin, who then sent a cross-ice pass to a wide-open Ovechkin at the right point. Ovechkin walked the puck in a few steps and let a wicked slap shot go to beat Price cleanly for a 3-0 lead.

"I was just in front and chipped it up to the top of the net," Ovechkin said. "If we had a shot on net, it was a pretty dangerous shot. I don't know how many shots they had, but first appearance, it was not dangerous for them."

Montreal had its chances to score but was ultimately unable to get one past Neuvirth. The Canadiens failed to score on seven power-play chances and have gone just one for their last 18 with the man advantage.

The loss dropped the Canadiens to 17-21-8 on the season. Price, however, believes the they can still get their act together.

"It's still doable," he said. "We just have to get on our horse and start riding."

Game Notes

Wednesday marked the first game of a three-game road trip for the Caps...The Capitals have gone 8-4-0 against teams from Canada this season and have won their last seven contests against teams from north of the border...Washington finished 1-for-4 on the power play...The Caps improved to 15-0-0 this season when leading after two periods.