The Canadiens have learned a valuable lesson – or should have – with only 12 games remaining in their regular season; it's that time when anything less than your best simply isn't good enough.

Tuesday's 4-2 win by the Capitals in their first of a six-game road trip, was their ninth in a row and tied a six-game franchise record for consecutive victories away from home established in 1984. And if you're wondering what Washington brought to the Bell, this one belonged to the Capitals.

Put it this way: they were far better than the score indicated against a Canadiens team which was outplayed from start to finish – other than in the nets.

How good were the Capitals? They did a man-sized job of containing the Canadiens without centremen Nicklas Backstrom and Jason Arnott and you can add Alex Ovechkin to the mix. He was held to one shot in the game – although he did earn an assist on the second of rookie Marcus Johansson's two goal, which turned out to be the game winnner.

On their part, the Canadiens were left without Tomas Plekanec and Jeff Halpern for the final period with lower-body injuries. That's when the Capitals scored twice, but the fact is the Canadiens didn't do a whole lot in the two periods Plekanec and Halpern were available.

Washington coach Bruce Boudreau had suggested coming into the game his millionaires were embarking on a "tough road trip in tough buildings." That was in reference to the fact that the Capitals will meet the Canadiens once more on the trip, as well as taking on Detroit, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Ottawa in that order. (The Flyers maintained their one-point lead over Washington in the Eastern Conference race with a 3-2 win over the Panthers on Tuesday.)

"We'll see how good we are," said Boudreau.

Answer: very good. Very much in control, which is what you'd expect from a team which has gone through a difficult first half until their current streak made other teams notice. What's more, they demonstrated how good they can be against a Canadiens team which had won six of their last seven.