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Price helps Canadiens hold off Caps for 3-2 win

by John Kreiser /

Carey Price wouldn't let the Montreal Canadiens leave Washington with anything less than two points.

Price made 32 saves and survived a late barrage in which the Caps spent most of the last few minutes in the Washington zone as the Canadiens beat the Capitals 3-2 on Friday night for only their third win in regulation.

''The last 3 1/2 minutes were kind of hectic,'' Canadiens coach Jacques Martin said after his club improved to 3-11 in regulation -- to go along with an 8-0 record in overtime and shootouts. ''But up to that point I felt we were managing the game well.''

Travis Moen and Tomas Plekanec scored goals 2:53 apart early in the second period after Washington's Eric Fehr opened the scoring 11:52 into the game. Michael Cammalleri's power-play goal with 7:31 left in regulation turned out to be the game-winner when Brendan Morrison beat Price with 2:32 to play.

The Capitals, who outshot Montreal 27-8 in the final 40 minutes, poured on the pressure after that and earned a power play when Maxim Lapierre was called for hooking with 1:52 remaining. Washington pulled goalie Michal Neuvirth with a minute to play, one of the Canadiens players lost his stick, and the Capitals blasted away in the offensive zone. But the closest they got to tying the game came when Mike Green's slap shot hit the right post with less than 25 seconds left.

"It felt like we were in our own end for 10 minutes," Price said. "There was a lot of red out there. Especially when I lost my stick. I've got six players against four with no stick. That makes it pretty tough."

Neuvirth played for the first time this season because Jose Theodore was away from the team for personal reasons and coach Bruce Boudreau didn't want to use Semyon Varlamov on back-to-back nights. Washington visits Toronto on Saturday.

''It's easy to rip on your players when you lose to a team that's below you in the standings,'' Boudreau said, ''but I thought Montreal played a strong game. The biggest thing was I didn't think we were ready at the start of the game. We were flat. ... We went out there and thought it was going to be an easy win."

Montreal became only the fourth team to hold Alex Ovechkin without a point. Ovechkin, playing his 16th game of the season, had five shots on goal.

Washington took the early lead when Fehr beat Price glove-side through traffic from the left circle, but the Canadiens came back with a pair of goals early in the second.

Moen tied it when he redirected Roman Hamrlik's shot from the blue line at 3:59, and Plekanec made it 2-1 at 6:46 with a quick shot that appeared to hit Morrison's hand and trickle through Neuvirth's legs. Montreal had only four shots in the second period, but two found the net.

The Canadiens made the most of their first power play to take a two-goal lead when Cammalleri got his ninth of the season with Brooks Laich in the penalty box.

Morrison's goal set up a furious finish.

"We turned it on at the end,'' he said, "but it was too little, too late."

Both teams lost more players to injury. Montreal center Scott Gomez sustained a lower body injury and Moen had an undisclosed injury. Both will be evaluated Saturday.

Washington defenseman Tom Poti left early with an upper body injury, joining an injury list that includes Alexander Semin (wrist), Mike Knuble (broken finger), Boyd Gordon (back), Milan Jurcina (lower body), Quintin Laing (broken jaw) and Shaone Morrison (upper body).

Material from wire services was used in this report

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