Prior to the holidays, Washington was on it’s second six game win streak of this season. After four days off, their was some concern on if they’d be able to retain that high level of play as they returned to the ice. Montreal was on the opposite end of the spectrum, struggling, they’d hope to come out of the break and get back on track. Wrong team, wrong night for that to happen for the Canadiens. The Capitals wasted no time letting their visitors from the North know they’d be in for a long night. Habs goalie Mike Condon was nothing short of amazing on the night. He was the sole reason for Washington having just three goals on the evening, they definitely created enough quality chances to have doubled that three goal tally. The Caps would take down Montreal 3-1 last night at the Verizon Center thanks to strong play from their third line.
Why mention the third line? Well they were responsible for the second and third goals of the game. The Canadiens did a decent job in that they kept Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom off the score sheet. The issue being that Washington is much, much more than just their star-studded first line.
Egvengy Kuznetsov started things off with a brilliant deflection off a shot from Nate Schmidt. Kuzy skated around the net and positioned himself between Condon and a defender just in time to get a stick on Schmidt’s shot. That wasn’t the only chance of the period though, Washington would have several two-on-one and three-on-one situations in which Condon just wouldn’t give in.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing as Montreal responded to Jay Beagle’s second period goal in just 24 seconds with a tally from Daniel Carr. Tom Wilson created that opportunity for Beagle by using his speed to put pressure to the Canadiens back line. He then dropped the puck behind him as he carried the defender with him, that opened up a crease for Beagle who placed a rocket of a shot top shelf to the glove side of Condon. It was a gorgeous goal, from the build up to the shot. The Canadiens responded quickly, but couldn’t build any additional momentum from that initial goal.
Braden Holtby wasn’t tested as much as Condon in terms to quality shots, Montreal was out shot 33-30 by the Capitals. Still he made 29 saves to give him his 22nd win of the season, which leads the entire league.
Condon continued to stand on his head, doing his best Carey Price impression for most of the night. Flashing his glove in situations that just screamed “Goal” for the Capitals, he would stop 30 shots on the evening.
Chimmer would deliver the dagger to Montreal in the third and final period, the veteran flashed the speed of a youngster as he flew past Alexi Emelin down the right side. He then showed a very deft touch as he lifted the puck past Condon, a very difficult task considering the speed he was moving at.
The Capitals victory extended their home win streak to eight while their current win streak sits at seven games.