Tick Tack Toe. Nine in a row. The Washington Capitals took their season high eight game winning streak into Montreal and defeated the Canadiens 4-2 with the help of two crucial goals from Marcus Johansson.
Tuesday night’s win is one of the most impressive for Washington during this stretch as they got it done without veteran centers Jason Arnott and Nicklas Backstrom and defenseman Mike Green and Tom Poti. It was also Washington’s first return to the Bell Center since their early departure from the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs and in the midst of Montreal’s protests against the NHL for their lack of attention to the dangerous hit that Montreal’s Max Pacioretty took a few days ago. As Dave Gilmore mentioned, Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau addressed the protest to the Canadian media before the game.
Led by two clutch goals by Marcus Johansson, one in the first and the other with 6:43 in the third, Washington got it done and took a five point lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Southeast. The Caps are now just one point shy of the Flyers in the Eastern Conference.
Rookie goaltender Braden Holtby saved 24 of Montreal’s 26 shots on goal and registered a secondary assist on Johansson’s first goal.
Matt Bradley also helped the Capitals’ cause by taking back momentum with a fight against Paul Mara after Montreal tied the game at one.
The most telling statistic from the Capitals during their nine game winning streak comes courtesy of Katie Carrera of the Washington Post, who pointed out on twitter that Washington has outscored their opponents 13-2 in the third period during this streak.
Next up for Washington is a matchup against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night. We’ll find out if Bruce’s boys can make it 10 in a row in the Motor City.
As a side note, our Caps expert Dave Gilmore broke down Washington’s 4-2 win over Montreal on Habs Talk Radio last night.