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.