MONTREAL, CANADA - MARCH 15: Marcus Johansson #90 of the Washington Capitals skates with the puck while being chased by Brian Gionta #21 of the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on March 15, 2011 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Capitals Vs. Canadiens: Washington Wins, 4-2, For Ninth Straight Victory

Marcus Johansson scored two goals and the Capitals won their ninth straight game, defeating the Canadiens, 4-2.

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Capitals Vs. Canadiens: Washington Wins 4-2 For Ninth Straight Win

A month ago, everyone in D.C. was wondering what was wrong into the Washington Capitals. Now, the Capitals are close to their familiar perch: in first place in the Eastern Conference. With a 4-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens, the Capitals moved just one point behind the Philadelphia Flyers, who defeated the Buffalo Sabres, 3-2, tonight.

Marcus Johansson scored off a nifty pass from Alex Ovechkin to break a 2-2 tie, and Mike Knuble added a power-play goal with just over three minutes remaining to give the Capitals their ninth-straight victory. The goal was Johansson's second of the game, as he also got the scoring going just 1:06 into the first period. Braden Holtby stopped 24 of 26 shots to get the win as he continues his hot streak.

The Capitals continue to show composure in close games. Seven of their previous wins came by just one goal, and this too was a tight game. 

Washington now faces Detroit in Detroit on Wednesday, in a particularly difficult game. However, given the way the Capitals are playing, it's certainly winnable. 


Capitals Vs. Canadiens: Andrei Kostitsyn Ties Game At Two

The Washington Capitals are headed for yet another tight finish. Andrei Kostitsyn tied the game at two early in the second period, and that is our score as we head to the third period.

The Capitals had several chances to go up by more than 2-1 in the first period, which could loom large. Ultimately, the Canadiens tied it up when Kostitsyn scored just 3:28 into the second period, on an even strength goal. One first-period goal was disallowed, and another was stopped by a great save from Carey Price.

The Capitals may have to pull it out without Eric Fehr, who left the game in the second period and is questionable to return. Jason Arnott is already out of action with an injury, which robs the Capitals of some of their depth. The Capitals are already missing Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green and Semyon Varlamov with different injuries of their own.


Capitals Vs. Canadiens Score: Marcus Johansson, Brooks Laich Give Capitals 2-1 Lead

Led by goals from Marcus Johansson and Brooks Laich, the Washington Capitals lead the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 after a very active first period. Both teams had plenty of chances, and it's kind of a surprise that only three goals were scored.

The Capitals got going early when Johansson banged home a power-play goal off an assist from Dennis Wideman and, interestingly, goalie Braden Holtby just 1:06 into the game. The goal was Johansson's 10th of the season as he continues to emerge. Montreal tied the game 20 seconds later though when Travis Moen scored unassisted. The Capitals eventually took the lead 13:23 into the period when Laich scored his 16th of the season right in front of the net.

The score could have been more lopsided. An apparent Capitals goal was waived off, even though photographic evidence shows the puck was over the line. Later, Jason Chimera was stoned right at the net by goalie Carey Price, and the Capitals later got a five on three power play that came up empty. It'll be interesting to see if those moments come back to bite the Capitals.


Capitals Vs. Canadiens: Caps Start Road Trip In Montreal With Eight-Game Winning Streak In Tow

When the Washington Capitals acquired Scott Hannan from the Colorado Avalanche November 30, they would endure an eight-game losing streak. Coincidentally, since acquiring Marco Sturm, Dennis Wideman and Jason Arnott at the trade deadline two weeks ago, the Caps have won eight straight. Washington will look to make it nine against the Montreal Canadiens in the first of six straight on the road.

The Caps are the NHL's hottest team, going 9-1-0 in their last 10 games. The winning streak has catapulted the Caps to both the top of the Southeast Division and second place in the Eastern Conference. Much of that can attributed to stellar goaltending and defense; Washington has only surrendered 12 goals in eight games. Because of that, Braden Holtby earned the NHL's First Star of the Week award after going 4-0-0 with a 1.05 GAA and .965 save percentage last week.

Washington will enter Bell Centre for the first time since losing Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals last season. Montreal is on a hot streak of their own, having won six of seven and seven of 10. Carey Price could give Holtby a run for his money; he has won five of his last six starts with a 1.17 GAA and identical .965 save percentage.

The team plane will be more full with the additions of Nicklas Backstrom, Semyon Varlamov and Tom Poti, who have all been suffering from injuries. The three of them making the trip could mean that their respective returns are imminent. Meanwhile, Mike Green did not make the trip; he is not eligible to come off of injured reserve until March 22.

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