For 15 days, the Washington Capitals wondered where their offense went. They have rarely been a team to want for goals in recent years, yet during this stretch of January it seemed at times like they might never again find the back of the net. But with Alex Ovechkin back in the lineup after sitting out the past two games with a groin injury, the Capitals rediscovered their scoring touch in a 5-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night. With contributions from both expected and completely unanticipated sources, ranging from Ovechkin to Jay Beagle and John Erskine, the Capitals racked up four goals in the first 10 minutes 31 seconds of the second period and chased Montreal goaltender Carey Price on their way to snapping a seven-game losing streak. The win also marked Braden Holtby’s second shutout of the season (21 saves) and his first triumph since Dec. 7 against Nashville. “Big win, good win for boys and for Holtsy as well to bring confidence back,” Ovechkin said. “Sometimes we just have to break through. You can see who scores the goals, Beags, Ersk, those guys that don’t score a lot. It’s nice for them, it’s nice for us to have that kind of momentum on our side.” The victory was just the fifth since Dec. 20 for the Capitals, who remain in 13th place in the Eastern Conference but, at least for a day, halted their slide. Washington is now one of five teams within two points of the final playoff spot in the crowded East. Washington unearthed its slumbering scoring potential the old-fashioned way, by going to the net. All four of its goals came on plays that featured bodies crowding the crease or screening the opposing goaltender. It also didn’t hurt that the Capitals, having scored more than one goal in only one game during their skid, finally ran into an opponent struggling just as mightily to create offense as they were. The Canadiens entered Saturday’s tilt having scored only one goal in each of their past two games and were mocked mercilessly from their home crowd as they struggled to muster shots. Meanwhile, the visitors set a tone in the first as they found their footing, and by the intermission Washington held a 12-3 lead in shots but with no results on the scoreboard.
Ovechkin returns in Capitals win over Canadiens
Washington Post | Jan 26