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game recap

Braden Holtby lifts Capitals past Canadiens

Goalie makes 20 saves for his 10th consecutive victory; Nicklas Backstrom scores winner

by Sean Farrell / Correspondent

MONTREAL -- Braden Holtby made 20 saves to extend his winning streak to 10 games when the Washington Capitals defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 at Bell Centre on Saturday.

Holtby, who made nine saves in the third period, has not lost since a 2-1 shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils on Dec. 29.

"That was outstanding, especially the last five minutes there, they got some pressure on us and he made some really good saves," said Washington center Nicklas Backstrom, who scored at 5:16 of the third period.


WATCH: All Capitals vs. Canadiens highlights


Backstrom's power-play goal turned out to be the game-winner for the Capitals (35-11-6), who also got a goal from Jay Beagle in the first and Andre Burakovsky in the second.

Washington is 15-2-1 since Dec. 31 and leads the NHL with 76 points. The Capitals have won four straight games in Montreal and 11 of 12 since 2010-11.

"I think you can see how we play; we play simple, we didn't make mistakes," Ovechkin said. "And if we make mistakes, our goaltending is right there. It's very important to have confidence in the back end, so we knew if we get the lead we just have to play simple."

Video: WSH@MTL: Holtby turns away Plekanec on the rush

Alexander Radulov and Max Pacioretty each had a goal and an assist for the Canadiens (30-16-7).

Carey Price made 27 saves for Montreal, which has lost two straight, including 3-1 at the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.

"They're the hottest team in the League and we've got to dig a little deeper to get two points from them," Pacioretty said.

Backstrom scored his 15th goal on a wrist shot from the top of the right faceoff circle to give Washington a 3-1 lead. Pacioretty's 25th goal at 7:49 of the third made it 3-2.

The Canadiens pressed for the tying goal but defenseman Shea Weber was unable to get a shot off in the final seconds.

"It just bounced at not the opportune time and just hit the top of my stick," Weber said. "I thought I saw some net, but unfortunately it bounced at the wrong time."

Beagle put the Capitals up 1-0 with his 11th goal on a wrist shot into the top right corner from the slot at 3:02 of the first period. Radulov tied it at 1-1 with his 13th goal at 7:32. Burakovsky gave Washington a 2-1 lead with his 11th goal at 9:26.

The Canadiens appeared to tie the game at 2-2 1:30 later, but Radulov's second goal was waved off for goaltender interference at 10:56 because Pacioretty crashed into Holtby.


Goal of the game

Burakovsky, who has scored nine of his 11 goals on the road, took a cross-ice pass from Brett Connolly and put a wrist shot past Price from the right faceoff dot.

Video: WSH@MTL: Burakovsky roofs Connolly's great feed


Save of the game

Holtby protected a 3-2 lead by stretching out almost into the splits to make a left-pad save on Alex Galchenyuk when the Canadiens center cut across the goalmouth in the third period.

Video: WSH@MTL: Holtby stones Galchenyuk with beautiful stop


Highlight of the game

Radulov scored a pretty goal, taking a pass from Phillip Danault at the left edge of the slot and getting the puck past Holtby.

Video: WSH@MTL: Radulov whips a wrister past Holtby


Unsung performance of the game

Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen kept it tied at 1-1 in the first period when he cleared the puck from the goal line on a shot by Montreal center Tomas Plekanec from the left side of the net.


They said it

"I felt Montreal had a good response there after we scored the third goal. I thought we were starting to take it away and then they responded with that second goal, and then we had to hang on a little bit. I thought it was a fast, well-played game." -- Capitals coach Barry Trotz


"We were playing against the best team in the League, they're tough to play against, they're heavy. Our fight was good and we got our chances. Holtby made some big saves for them at the end, but there's some positives, for sure." -- Canadiens coach Michel Therrien


Need to know

Capitals defenseman John Carlson played his NHL 500th game. ... The game was delayed for 11 minutes at 5:16 of the first period to replace a broken piece of the boards behind the Washington' net. ... Danault left in the third period because of an upper-body injury. He is day to day.


What's next

Capitals: Host the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday (noon ET; NBC, NHL.TV)

Canadiens: Host the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday (1 p.m. ET; SN, RDS, NHL.TV)


Video: Caps hang on to edge Canadiens, 3-2, in Montreal

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