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.