Montreal Canadiens Push Past The Capitals

MONTREAL, CANADA - OCTOBER 21: Hardy Haman Aktell #4 of the Washington Capitals defends against Cole Caufield #22 of the Montreal Canadiens during the second period at the Bell Centre on October 21, 2023 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, CANADA - OCTOBER 21: Hardy Haman Aktell #4 of the Washington Capitals defends against Cole Caufield #22 of the Montreal Canadiens during the second period at the Bell Centre on October 21, 2023 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

The Montreal Canadiens played their third game of the season, and first on a Saturday night, against the Washington Capitals.

Alex Ovechkin had struggled to start the season, Justin Barron slotted in for the injured Kaiden Guhle to make his season debut, and despite being called up to the club, Armia watched from the press box.

First Period

Nick Suzuki faced Evgeny Kuznetsov in the first faceoff of the game, he won it on his backhand. Cole Caufield and Rafael Harvey Pinard flanked him on the wings.

Alex Newhook took the first penalty of the game at 14:35 of the first frame. Setting up the best goalscorer in the league with a powerplay, Alex Ovechkin will have a full two minutes to work with. Your best penalty killer needs to be your goalie, and Jake Allen made some key stops and held the Capitals off the scoresheet.

In typical 2024 Canadiens fashion, the Habs took their second penalty of the game.  Arber Xhekaj to the box for high sticking. Giving Ovechkin another chance to strike on the man advantage isn’t exactly a great game plan, and Allen and the Habs penalty kill kept the Capitals off the board.

The Habs were held to two shots, with four minutes and twenty seconds to go in the period. They’ll need to change that because Darcy Kuemper looks a little too comfortable. Ovechkin and the Capitals have eight shots.

Allen had a brilliant period but his most brilliant save came on a two-on-one. He dove across the crease to rob Anthony Mantha who received a nice feed from none other than Ovechkin. Allen has held the fort down for the team, which has given them time to get into the groove.

Ovechkin took a penalty with a minute and thirty two seconds left before intermission. Cole Caufield made a nice pass to Nick Suzuki, who fed Sean Monahan the puck in front of Kuemper, and he redirected it in. The powerplay tally was the Habs’ second of the young season.

Monahan had the lone tally of the period, sending the game into intermission with a one-to-nothing lead.

Second Period

With fifteen minutes and nine seconds to go, the Canadiens took their third penalty of the contest. Rafael Harvey Pinard to the penalty box for tripping. But the Capitals were unable to solve the Habs penalty kill or put the puck past Allen.

The veteran line of Brendan Gallagher, Sean Monahan and Tanner Pearson rushed up the ice, and each one touched the puck before Gallagher shot the puck past Kuemper. If anything the PK has swayed the momentum the Habs way. The tally put some energy into the team’s legs.

Allen continued to be the Canadiens’ best player making save after save. His biggest of the second came against Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. Allen made a padstack save against Backstrom, much to the chagrin of the Bell Centre faithful.

With fifty-eight point one seconds in the frame, Mike Matheson went to the sin bin for tripping. And for the time being the Canadiens held the Capitals off the scoresheet. Taking the game to the second intermission with a two-goal lead.

Third Period

The Capitals started the third on the power play. With a minute and two seconds carrying over from the second period. While the Capitals are struggling, it doesn’t mean the powerplay will stay cold, so props to the Habs for neutralizing Ovechkin and the Capitals on three power-play attempts.

Alex Newhook used his speed to fly into the offensive zone. He made a nice saucer pass across the ice to Josh Anderson who had a brilliant chance, but Kuemper shut the door. Newhook’s speed gave the Capitals problems all night.

The Habs got their second powerplay of the game, with sixteen fifty-eight to go in the period. Tanner Pearson was interfered with by defenseman Hardy Haman. To say the Habs powerplay continues to be a problem, would be an understatement, they can’t get anything through the middle of the Capitals, which stalled their pursuit for three goals.

Montreal returned to the powerplay, after Capitals forward Sonny Milano ran over Allen, no less in his crease. With fourteen thirty-two to go in the third, the Habs continued their quest for their third goal of the night. With twenty-three seconds left on their first powerplay, Evgeny Kuznetsov put the team down by two players, facing a five-on-three.

One way or another the crowd was going to be loud. Tom Wilson took the Capitals’ third consecutive penalty, giving the Canadiens over a minute of powerplay time with a five-on-three advantage. St. Louis chalked up a plan for the number one unit.

Josh Anderson took a minor penalty for slashing with thirty-two seconds left on the first powerplay. So the teams played some quick four-on-three hockey, with plenty of space to play. Both teams were flying with a little over ten minutes to play, and the Canadiens held their two-goal lead.

Ovechkin set up Dylan Strome on a two-on-one, and he fired the puck past Allen. His shutout was ruined, but the crowd was all business, cheering ‘Go Habs Go’, pushing their team ahead. It’s a two-to-one game with less than nine minutes to go in the game.

Milano pulled down Juraj Slafkovsky, which put the Canadiens back on the man advantage. The story of the game was the sheer amount of penalties. Neither coach is going to be happy, about their powerplay struggling, and their inability to stay out of the box.

It was nothing doing for the Habs on the man advantage. They mustered another opportunity, at an important time in the game. Setting up for an interesting final two minutes and twenty seconds. Kuemper got pulled for the extra man, and Strome scored his second of the night to tie the game with two minutes to go.

The final two minutes will be sudden death, much like the pending overtime, if the stalemate can’t be broken in regulation. Neither Caufield nor Ovechkin have a goal, so this is primetime for both shooters. Both will have their final chance to ice the game with extra time.

This game is headed to overtime after the two teams couldn’t solve the opposing goalie for a third goal of the night. Both teams had one point, but the overtime period looked as though the Canadiens were hungrier to steal the second point.


Nick Suzuki fed Cole Caufield the puck, and he entered the Capitals zone firing a laser past Kuemper for the game winner.

Final – 3-2 Canadiens

Three Stars

First Star – Jake Allen

Second Star – Dylan Strome

Third Star – Cole Caufield

The team continued to struggle staying out of the penalty box. It’s normal with a young team to have growing pains, and unfortunately the Habs are undisciplined. Something they’ll need to work on cleaning up, less time in the box means more time for the teams best players to be out on the ice.

The Canadiens play their next game on Monday night against the Buffalo Sabres. Puckdrop at 7 p.m. from the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, NY.

Next. Habs Have Incredible Number Of Reinforcement Coming Soon. dark

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