Ovechkin ties Rocket, lifts Capitals 4-1 over Canadiens for sixth straight win

The Canadian Press
Published on January 9, 2017

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates his power play goal against the Montreal Canadiens during third period NHL hockey action Monday, January 9, 2017 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

MONTREAL — Alexander Ovechkin tied Canadiens legend Maurice (Rocket) Richard with his 544th career goal as the Washington Capitals extended it's wining streak to six games with a 4-1 victory over Montreal on Monday night.

Ovechkin, who has won the Maurice Richard Trophy as the league's goal-scoring leader six times, tied Richard for 29th place on the NHL's all-time scoring list. He also had two assists to move one short of the 1,000 career points milestone. 

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Brett Connolly and Nicklas Backstrom also scored for Washington (26-9-5), which saw goalie Braden Holtby's career-best shutout string end at 169 minutes 12 seconds when Tomas Plekanec scored in the third period for Montreal (25-10-6).

Capitals coach Barry Trotz worked his 1,400th regular season game, tying Pat Quinn for eighth place all time and picked up his 684th win, tying Quinn for sixth. He is to catch Ron Wilson for seventh place with 1,401 games when Washington hosts Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.

The Capitals were the sharper team in the first period and took the lead at 11:03 when Ovechkin faked a slapshot from the point and moved in for a wrist shot that produced an easy rebound for Backstrom to tuck in for his 10th of the season.

Former Canadien Lars Eller was serving an interference call when Plekanec tied it with one second left in the power play as he first hit the post with a backhand, then scored during the resulting scramble in front of Holtby at 7:18 of the third. The Capitals called for a review for goaltender interference, but video showed it was Holtby's teammate Brooks Orpik who knocked him over.

Only 54 seconds later, Kuznetsov turned Jeff Petry inside out and beat Carey Price on a rush. 

Kuznetsov stole the puck from price at the side of the net and fed Connelly for a goal from the right circle at 11:00.

The Capitals were on a power play when Ovechkin picked the corner with a shot from the top of the left circle at 16:36.

The Canadiens looked flat for the first two periods of their first game at home after a stretch of seven road games in which they went 4-1-2

Paul Byron returned after missing a game with an upper body injury, leaving six regulars still out with injuries — Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, David Desharnais, Andrew Shaw and defencemen Andrei Markov and Greg Pateryn.

T.J. Oshie sat out for Washington with an upper body injury.

Washington outshot Montreal 38-23. 

Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press