Habs Use Four-Goal Salvo To Keep Capitals Winless

by
Reuters
The Montreal Canadiens used a four-goal barrage to rout Washington 4-1 on Thursday and leave the Capitals still searching for their first win of the lockout-reduced season.

* Habs netminder Price stops 30

* Capitals drop third straight

* Ovechkin, Backstrom remain scoreless

The Montreal Canadiens used a four-goal barrage to rout Washington 4-1 on Thursday and leave the Capitals still searching for their first win of the lockout-reduced season.

Second period goals from Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Markov, Brian Gionta and Josh Gorges secured back-to-back victories for the Canadiens after a lacklustre season-opening loss to Toronto.

"We took advantage of our powerplay, especially in the second period," Montreal coach Michel Therrien told reporters. "The powerplay gave us a good chance to win this hockey game."

Canadiens netminder Carey Price stopped 30 shots and was rarely tested before a Joey Crabb goal with 2:33 remaining ended the veteran goalie's shutout bid.

"Things haven't been going our way," Capitals first-year coach Adam Oates said. "The team is probably a little fragile and we gave them a five-on-three goal, which right away took the wind out of our sails a little bit."

Montreal opened the scoring early in the second period when Plekanec netted from the right-wing circle with the Canadiens enjoying a two-man advantage.

Less than a minute later, the Canadiens added another powerplay goal when Markov beat back-up Michael Neuvirth to the stick side.

With 11 minutes left in the period, the Canadiens made it 3-0 when Gionta caught the Capitals napping and fired an uncontested, five-foot wrist-shot high to the gloveside to silence a sold-out Verizon Center crowd of 18,506.

WORST START

Gorges completed the scoring blitz with 1:39 remaining in the period to put the Canadiens out of sight of their shell-shocked opponents.

"Some of our mistakes are pure effort," Oates added. "It's very upsetting. We're pros. You've got to be a pro and you've got to do your job."

After being out-scored 10-5 in their first two contests of the 48-game season, Oates opted to start Neuvirth in goal but the move backfired in the decisive middle period when he conceded all four goals on 11 shots.

The Capitals (0-3) are in the midst of their worst start since dropping the first six games of the 1993-94 campaign. Two of the team's top scorers, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, are still looking for their first goal of the season.

Backstrom refused to blame the club's slugglish play on a new system installed by Oates.

"It's up to us," he said. "We're playing. Even if we have a new system, it's not such a big difference from that last system. It's a matter of work and making the right decisions at the right time.

"And right now, we're not doing that."