MONTREAL- APRIL 19: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals stick handles the puck while being defended by Jaroslav Spacek #6 of the Montreal Canadiens in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre on April 19, 2010 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Canadiens Vs. Capitals: Caps Exact Revenge Over Habs With 3-0 Victory In Tune-Up For Winter Classic

Semyon Varlamov made 25 saves to propel the Capitals to their third shutout victory of the season.

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Capitals Vs. Canadiens: Washington Beats Montreal In Their Final Game Before The Winter Classic

Washington, DC-The Washington Capitals eight-game losing streak is a thing of the past. In fact, it's swiftly becoming a distant memory as they won for the fourth time in their last five games, beating the team who ousted them from last year's play-offs.

The Caps got their vengeance with a solid 3-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in which they established a stranglehold early and didn't let up against a punchless Canadiens squad. While Montreal failed to mount an offensive attack it was the Capitals who scored early and then played an uncharacteristic two periods of defensive-minded hockey to preserve the lead.

Tonight's game marked the third straight in which the Caps played both ends of the ice with equal tenacity and it more than made up for their lackluster power play going 0-7. They killed off all five Montreal power plays, suffocating their undersized lineup with outstanding efforts from all six defensemen. Mike Green added a first period goal as well on a backdoor pass from Nicklas Backstrom, making it one of the better evenings of the season for the Capitals blue liners.

"I thought everybody played really hard," said Bruce Boudreau. "They were committed to what they were doing and it's new way for us to play, but I think we're liking it."

Jeff Schultz, playing in his first game since breaking his thumb against Toronto, was welcomed back with a win.

"We missed him. He's so consistent," said Green after the game. "He hasn't played in however many games and he comes back and he's solid just like he always is. You have to admire that."

While Schultz's return bolstered the defensive pairings, goaltender Semyon Varlamov turned in another stellar performance, stopping all 25 Canadien shots for his second straight win and his second shutout of the year.

"He played outstanding tonight," said Green. He deserved the first star. There were shots that we couldn't block and he was playing aggressive to make sure he made the save. When he plays like that, he's an outstanding goaltender."

Jay Beagle and Alex Ovechkin had the other goals for Washington. Beagle's was the result of some hard work to win a battle along the boards, but ended with flair as he spun to his backhand in front of the net to beat Habs' goalie Carey Price. The goal gave Washington a 1-0 advantage they would never relinquish.

Ovechkin scored on an empty net to put it away late in the third. He now has 14 goals on the season entering Saturday's Winter Classic showdown with rival superstar Sidney Crosby.


Capitals Vs. Canadiens: Caps Maintain Their 2-0 Lead After Two Periods

Washington, DC-Neither team lit the lamp in the middle frame tonight as the Capitals maintained their 2-0 edge over the Montreal Canadiens in the second period here at the Verizon Center. Washington has played sound hockey throughout, leaving the Canadiens with a big two-goal deficit to overcome heading into the third.

The Caps have rarely let Montreal set up shop in front of Semyon Varlamov, instead keeping opposing goalie Carey Price busy on the other end. Though Washington is only up 21-19 in the shot department, Montreal has been hard-pressed to create legitimate scoring chances with the Capitals ramping up the pressure on the other end.

The Capitals' struggles on the power play continue as they are 0-5 with the man advantage tonight. Nevertheless, they are displaying patience on both ends and are limiting Montreal's scoring chances. Mike Green, Jeff Schultz, and John Carlson have all been diligent in their own zone, continuing the renewed effort in the defensive zone.

While the power play is once again absent, the penalty killing unit remains efficient. Washington has stifled the Canadiens on all three of their power plays, making it another solid night for the NHL's ninth ranked PK unit.

Varlamov is leading the charge tonight when the Caps go shorthanded. He is pitching the shutout, highlighted by eight saves on the penalty kill in his second straight start. He won the day after Christmas against Carolina with a good performance, but this one has been just as impressive, if not more so.


Capitals Vs. Canadiens: Washington Off To A Fast Start With A 2-0 Lead After The First Period

Washington, DC-Tonight's grudge match is going according to plan if you're a fan of the Washington Capitals. Just months after being upset in the first round of the playoffs by the Montreal Canadiens, Washington is flying high with a 2-0 lead heading into the second period of play in what is the two teams' first matchup since the 2010 postseason.

The Capitals weathered a pair of early penalties with the help of goalie Semyon Varlamov. The Russian netminder stopped six shot s on the penalty kill as Montreal failed jump on Washington's early miscues. The Caps didn't register a shot until 6:50 into the period as Carey Price spoiled John Carlson's breakaway bid as the young defenseman came out of the penalty box.

However, things started to heat up as Montreal committed three straight penalties. The Capitals have yet to notch a power play goal, but the constant puck possession in the offensive zone resulted in a pair of even strength goals to put the home team up 2-0 after one.

The first goal was a result of some great fundamentals by Jay Beagle and Matt Hendricks. Hendricks made a beautiful cross ice dump-in and Beagle emerged from behind the endboards with the puck. As he swung to the front of the goal mouth, he pulled a nifty spin-o-rama and buried a backhander to give the Caps first blood.

The second marker came courtesy of Mike Green who has two goals in his last three games after a long scoring drought. The explosive defenseman was held without a goal by Montreal in last year's play-offs, but tonight he cut backdoor and received a pass from Nicklas Backstrom for an easy goal.


Canadiens Vs. Capitals: Caps Have One More Tune-Up Before Winter Classic

Washington, DC-When the Montreal Canadiens and Washington Capitals last met at Verizon Center, the Habs were celebrating a Game Seven victory in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The Caps blew a 3-1 series lead and were on the receiving end of one of the worst playoff collapses in NHL history. Before Washington heads to Pittsburgh for the Winter Classic, it will look to exact revenge on the Canadiens Tuesday at Verizon Center.

Since ending their eight-game losing streak, the Capitals are 3-0-1. In their last game Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes, Alex Ovechkin scored for the first time since December 6 in a 3-2 victory. Ovechkin added an assist as well, giving him his first multi-point night in a month.

Mathieu Perreault also scored against Carolina, but left the game after breaking his nose in a hit from Carolina defenseman Tim Gleason. Perreault is listed as day-to-day and will probably miss Tuesday's game, but aims to return for the Winter Classic.

Also looking for a Winter Classic return is Jeff Schultz, who has been out sicne breaking his thumb December 6. Schultz could make his return Tuesday if he is cleared to play after warmups.

With Marcus Johansson also out with an undisclosed injury, the Capitals recalled center Keith Aucoin from AHL Hershey to fill the open roster spot.

The Canadiens are 1-3 on a season-high seven-game road trip. Carey Price is currently having one of his best starts with 19 wins, a 2.27 GAA and .923 SV%.

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