MONTREAL (AP) -Frustrated at seeing his team blow an early two-goal lead, Bruce Boudreau found plenty of consolation when the Washington Capitals got a tying goal late in regulation to set up a shootout win.
Backstrom secured the win when he put a shot past Carey Price, who had stopped Tomas Fleischmann and Alexander Ovechkin.
Eric Fehr scored his second goal of the game to draw Washington even at 3 with 11.4 seconds remaining in regulation.
"Well, I'm glad we came back," said Boudreau, the Capitals' coach. "That's the first time we've scored with the goalie pulled and I think we only had like 15 shots on goal at that time, so I wasn't too hopeful until the last 3 minutes when we started to put a little bit of a push on. But they played a really, really good defensive game and they allowed no second shots and they were standing up and getting in our face all the time, so it was a tough game."
Fehr, who opened the scoring 8:47 in, got his second of the game - his sixth of the season - when he backhanded a rebound past Price after Montreal defenseman Paul Mara was called for high-sticking at 19:44 to send the game to overtime.
"We got two points on the road and you can't be disappointed in that but at the same time we've got to be a little bit better and we've got to play a full 60 minutes, which we haven't done in a while," Fehr said.
Ovechkin got his 18th goal midway through the first 1:12 after Eric Fehr got his fifth as Washington scored on two of its first three shots to take a 2-0 lead.
Varlamov stopped 21 shots. The Russian rookie recorded his first regular-season shutout in his last outing Wednesday when he turned aside 25 shots in a 2-0 win over Buffalo.
Price made 20 saves for the Canadiens, 3-1-2 in their last six.
"For us, it's not good enough," Cammalleri said. "A lot of guys in here are upset. I don't really care who doesn't expect us to get the points. In this room we expect to get the points and we think that the way we've been able to play as a unit has been an effective way to get two points in a game and once again we put ourselves in position to do it tonight, so this group here is not happy with the one point."
Travis Moen gave Montreal a 3-2 lead with a power-play goal 5:34 into the third.
Moen got credit for his sixth of the season when he redirected Marc-Andre Bergeron's wrist shot from the deep slot past Varlamov to give Montreal its third straight goal after falling behind 2-0 midway through the first.
Jaroslav Spacek and Plekanec scored in the second for the Canadiens.
Fehr deflected Karl Alzner's point shot past Price for his fifth goal 8:47 in after the Capitals failed to record a shot during their first power-play opportunity early in the opening period.
Ovechkin made it a 2-0 lead when he drove a slap shot past Price into the left side of the net at 9:59.
Despite the two-goal lead, Washington was outshot 7-4 in the first.
"We just started being cute after the 10-minute mark," Boudreau said. "We'd get the puck in the zone and we'd try to make three passes before we shot the puck."
Spacek, who returned after missing two games because of injury, scored his second goal on a power-play goal 5:40 into the second to draw Montreal within 2-1.
Plekanec tied it at 2 with his sixth goal at 13:50.
NOTES: Vladislav Tretiak was among the crowd of 21,273 on hand. The Hall of Fame goalie was given a warm ovation when he was shown on the video scoreboard. ... Injured Capitals included Ds Tom Poti and Shaone Morrisonn, and Fs Alexander Semin, Quintin Laing, Boyd Gordon and Mike Knuble. ... Canadiens sidelined by injury included Ds Andrei Markov and Hal Gill, and Fs Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta, Andrei Kostitsyn and Benoit Pouliot.
|Eric Fehr (5) ASST: Karl Alzner (1), Brooks Laich (13)|
1 - 0 WSH
|Alex Ovechkin (18) ASST: Nicklas Backstrom (20), Alexandre Giroux (1)|
2 - 0 WSH
|PPG - Jaroslav Spacek (2) ASST: Roman Hamrlik (5), Max Pacioretty (6)|
2 - 1 WSH
|Tomas Plekanec (6) ASST: Roman Hamrlik (6), Jaroslav Spacek (7)|
2 - 2 Tie
|PPG - Travis Moen (6) ASST: Marc-Andre Bergeron (5), Mike Cammalleri (10)|
3 - 2 MTL
|PPG - Eric Fehr (6) ASST: Alex Ovechkin (11), Tomas Fleischmann (5)|
3 - 3 Tie
|1||M. Cammalleri||T. Fleischmann|
|2||M. Lapierre||A. Ovechkin|
|3||T. Plekanec||N. Backstrom|
|Max Pacioretty Holding against Nicklas Backstrom|
|Alexandre Giroux Interference against Jaroslav Spacek|
|Jay Beagle Tripping against Kyle Chipchura|
|Alexandre Giroux Tripping against Ryan O'Byrne|
|Brooks Laich Holding against Mike Cammalleri|
|Max Pacioretty Tripping against Alex Ovechkin|
|Paul Mara Hi-sticking against Brooks Laich|