WASHINGTON (AP) -- Peter Bondra wanted to help teammate Mike Grier, but time
was running out on the Washington Capitals and they needed to win badly.
Taking no chances, Bondra camped out behind Montreal goalie Mathieu Garon
and knocked in a loose puck with 53.8 seconds remaining to lift the Capitals to
a 3-2 victory Tuesday night over the Montreal Canadiens.
"If I knew the puck was going to be there, I would have left it for Mike
because he needs it more than I do," said Bondra, whose goal gave the Capitals
their first win on their current five-game homestand. "It was a big goal for
Bondra also played a big role in helping Washington, 10-0 when leading after
two periods, to stay in the game.
Washington's Joel Kwiatkowski was ejected for checking-from-behind at 3:49
of the third period, but Montreal was only able to capitalize for one goal
during the stretch. Two minutes of the five-minute power play were wasted when
Bondra raced toward the goal on a short-handed breakaway and drew a slashing
penalty on Sheldon's Souray.
"Those are losses that can be avoided. It's points we desperately need,
like anybody else," Montreal coach Claude Julien said. "We had an opportunity
to come out with a point, and again in the last minute we squandered that."
When Montreal resumed its power play, Michael Ryder tied the game a second
time when he batted a rebound out of the air at 8:24 of the third period.
On Sunday, Washington let a 3-1 lead slip away in a 5-4 loss to the
Islanders. However, it was the Capitals' veteran leadership that made sure this
one didn't get away as well.
Jaromir Jagr and Jeff Halpern also scored to give Washington 1-0 and 2-1
Jagr, playing his second straight game after missing two with a thumb
injury, scored the first goal on Washington's first power play at 5:37 of the
second period. He took the puck from Benoit Gratton and shot it high past
Halpern scored 4:56 into the third, just before Montreal went on the
five-minute power play which led to Ryder's tying goal.
"I think the key to it is the resiliency of the hockey club, which at times
earlier on -- for whatever reason -- we didn't seem to have," Washington coach
Glen Hanlon said. "You can sense and feel it on the bench. When a goal goes
in, it seems like the right people are saying the right things."
Former Capitals player Jan Bulis also scored for Montreal, which failed to
win two in a row for the 11th time this season. The Canadiens haven't won
back-to-back games since beating the Red Wings and Islanders on Oct. 20 and