WASHINGTON (AP)- Michael Komisarek gave the Montreal Canadiens some unexpected offensive help.
Komisarek got his first career goal, and the Canadiens scored three times in just over 2 minutes in the second period to snap a three-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory Monday night over the Washington Capitals.
Montreal remained one point ahead of Atlanta, which beat Buffalo, for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
Komisarek, playing in his 123rd NHL game, had just one assist in 55 games this season. He scored 5:47 into the first period, and also added an assist on Montreal's third goal.
"It was definitely a good feeling," Komisarek said. "I was thrilled. I didn't know that it had gone in. I was just in shock."
The goal gave Montreal an early 1-0 lead, but the Canadiens were celebrating loudly on the bench. The defenseman had a difficult first half of the season as his mother died late last year after battling cancer.
"Everyone was really happy for him," Montreal's Michael Ryder said. "He'd been waiting for that all year."
The Capitals seemed flat for much of the game, disappointing coach Glen Hanlon.
"I felt that that was one of the few games that we didn't give a winning effort," Hanlon said.
Hanlon also kept Alex Ovechkin out for the first part of the third period and about 14 consecutive minutes going back to late in the second. Neither Hanlon or Ovechkin wanted to talk much about it.
"It was coach's decision," Ovechkin said. "I'm OK. It was his decision and I'm OK."
Said Hanlon: "I'm going to respectfully decline to answer it. It's a decision that we made internally that we needed to do. I'm choosing not to discuss it."
The score was tied at 1 when the Canadiens got three goals in a stretch of 2:06 in the second period.
Ryder scored the go-ahead goal on a rebound of Chris Higgins' shot at 7:28, and Alexander Perezhogin made it 3-1 at 9:08.
Mathieu Dandenault then scored on a wrist shot from in front just 26 seconds later to give the Canadiens a three-goal lead as Washington goalie Olie Kolzig swung his stick into the crossbar in frustration.
The Montreal defense held the Capitals in check, and goalie Cristobal Huet made 24 saves in the win. Montreal held a 32-26 edge in shots.
Washington, which won the first two games with Montreal this season, has now have lost a season high-tying six in a row overall.
Brian Sutherby scored for Washington in the first period, and Ovechkin added a power-play goal with 11 seconds left in the game.
Notes: Washington defenseman Bryan Muir missed the game with the flu. ... The Capitals now are 7-37-8 when allowing three goals or more. ... Montreal's final 15 games will be against Eastern Conference teams. ... Ryder's goal was his 25th, tying a career high.