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Habs blow three-goal lead but Plekanec scores in OT to down Caps 6-5

NHL.com @NHL

MONTREAL - Tomas Plekanec scored his second of the night at 4:52 of overtime Wednesday as the Montreal Canadiens snapped the Washington Capitals' 14-game winning streak with a 6-5 victory, despite blowing a three-goal third-period lead.

Scott Gomez, Tom Pyatt, Maxim Lapierre and Glen Metropolit also scored for the Canadiens (29-26-6), who won the season series against the powerhouse Capitals (41-13-6) with a 2-1-1 record.

Carey Price, making his first start since Jan. 27, made 33 saves for the Canadiens to win for only the third time in his last 12 starts.

Brooks Laich scored three times for the Capitals, including one with 18.4 seconds to play in regulation, as Washington fought back from a 5-2 deficit to force overtime.

Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green also scored for the Capitals, who came within a game of tying the second-longest winning streak in NHL history.

Rookie Michal Neuvirth got the start in goal for Washington but was removed with an apparent injury with the score tied 2-2 at 6:11 of the second. Former Canadiens netminder Jose Theodore came on in relief and saw his own personal streak of 10 straight wins come to an end, allowing four goals on 25 shots.

Washington had been dominant since last suffering a loss on Jan. 12 in Tampa Bay, outscoring the opposition 67-33 over the 14 wins since.

The injury-riddled Canadiens - with a lineup featuring five players who were in the American Hockey League last month - were up to the challenge of facing the league's hottest team, scoring four goals in the second period to take a 5-2 lead.

There was a scary moment with just over 10 seconds to play in the first when a Green slapshot struck Canadiens defenceman Josh Gorges in the back of the head. Gorges lay motionless on the ice for several minutes but left under his own power.

He was not taken to hospital, but did not return.

"The puck got him right in the helmet, you can see the indentation of the puck in the helmet," said Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier between the second and third period. "He's very lucky. But he's OK, he was chatting with the guys."

Green made it 5-3 with a power-play goal from the point 16 seconds into the third, and Laich cut the deficit to one when he scored on a 2-on-1 at 9:02.

Laich completed the hat trick with his 20th of the season at 19:41 of the third by tipping home a Mike Knuble shot from the corner.

On the winner, Montreal's Sergei Kostitsyn got his third assist of the night by patiently out-waiting the Capitals defence before sliding it over to Plekanec, who had no trouble burying his 17th of the season.

Montreal opened the scoring 36 seconds into the first on Gomez's ninth of the season, but Laich tied it up at 6:23.

Pyatt gave the Canadiens a brief lead when he swatted home a rebound 41 seconds in the second, only to have Backstrom tie it 30 seconds later, converting a nice give-and-go with Alexander Ovechkin for his 26th.

Montreal regained the lead at 12:45 when Metropolit scored his team-leading eighth power-play goal of the season, with an assist going to David Desharnais for his first-career NHL point.

Only 12 seconds later, Lapierre took a feed from Kostitsyn and beat Theodore with a low shot for his fifth of the season and a 4-2 Montreal lead.

A bizarre play followed when Ovechkin plowed into Habs defenceman Hal Gill in front of Price. The puck was in Gill's feet at the time, but Ovechkin's hit pushed both Gill and the puck into Price and, eventually, into the net.

The play was called a goal on the ice, but after the four officials conferred without going to a video review, it was waved off.

No explanation was announced as to why the goal was disalled, but NHL Rule 69.6 forbids a player from pushing the goalie and the puck into the net.

Plekanec scored his 16th 18:56 of the second to make it 5-2.

Notes: The Capitals entered the game without having allowed a goal in the first minute of a period all season. They allowed one in both the first and second period against the Habs.

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