MONTREAL - Alex Ovechkin returned from injury to start a four-goal second period as the Washington Capitals ended a seven-game winless run with a 5-0 victory over the slumping Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.
John Erskine, Jay Beagle and John Carlson also scored in the middle period as the Capitals (23-21-8), who had scored only three goals in their four previous games, dominated the first half of the game and then shut Montreal down.
Casey Wellman, recalled Saturday from AHL Hershey, got his first of the season on a feed from Ovechkin on a 2 on 1 counterattack 8:38 into the third period.
Washington had a 26-3 edge in shots before Carlson's goal at 10:31 of the middle period chased goalie Carey Price in favour of backup Peter Budaj. Final shots were 34-21.
Montreal (27-20-5) has lost four in a row and five of six.
Caps goalie Braden Holtby improved his record against Montreal to 5-0-0 with four shutouts.
Ovechkin was back in the lineup after missing two games with a lower body injury. He fed Troy Brouwer on a power play for a shot that was disallowed when video review found it entered the net a fraction of a second after the first period ended.
The man advantage had just ended when Ovechkin produced magic in the second period when Jason Chimera's rebound looked to be floating past the net. He tapped the puck twice in the air to keep it from getting away, then the lifted it into an open side for his 36th of the season.
Less than two minutes later, Erskine saw his sliding pass go through a surprised Price's legs after P.K. Subban lifted Brooks Laich's stick in front of the net.
Beagle scored on a set-up from Tom Wilson at 6:21, which got the Bell Centre crowd of 21,273 booing the home side, and Carlson added one on a long shot Price didn't see.
Daniel Briere finally got Montreal's fourth shot at 12:45 of the second.
The Capitals have won seven in a row at the Bell Centre since March, 2011 and are 9-1-1 in their last 11 visits.
Notes _ There was a standing ovation in a pre-game ceremony for Anthony Calvillo. The CFL's all-time passing leader retired this week from the Montreal Alouettes. . . There was also a moment's silence for victims of the Isle-Vert fire. . . Montreal defenceman Raphael Diaz was scratched for a fourth game. . . While Ovechkin returned, centre Mikhail Grabovski sat out with a lower body injury. . . Adam Oates coached his 100th Capitals game.