Alex Galchenyuk scored two goals, Mike Condon made 33 saves and the Montreal Canadiens topped the Eastern Conference-leading Washington Capitals 4-3 on Wednesday night.
The Canadiens built a 3-0 lead and chased Capitals goalie Braden Holtby in the second period before holding on as Washington tallied two late goals.
Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Fleischmann added goals for the Canadiens, who had lost four of five, and two previous meetings with Washington this season.
Trailing 4-1, the Capitals scored twice inside the final minutes, including Andre Burakovsky’s goal with 2:53 remaining. Jason Chimera and Dmitri Orlov also scored for the President’s Trophy front-runners, who entered 17-1-1 over their previous 19 home games.
Alex Ovechkin, the NHL leader with 39 goals, had one assist, but did not score for the first time in four games for Washington.
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The Capitals were 9-1-0 in their previous 10 games, while the Canadiens were 3-14-1 in their last 18 on the road.
Holtby, who finished with 15 saves on 18 shots, couldn’t add to his league-leading 38 wins. Washington’s defence didn’t help the cause.
Montreal turned a poor clear from Orlov into a 1-0 lead. Galchenyuk intercepted the pass and then rammed home a rebound off Dale Weise’s shot.
Galchenyuk’s score meant the slow-starting Capitals trailed for the sixth straight game. The deficit doubled with 2:13 left in the opening period on Gallagher’s power-play goal in the third and final meeting against Washington this season.
Another rebound off Holtby led to Montreal’s third goal less than two minutes into the second period and Fleischmann’s first since Jan. 23.
Philipp Grubauer replaced Holtby at that point. He finished with 15 saves, including turning away Gallagher’s penalty shot, but surrendered Galchenyuk’s goal in the second period.
With its offence more listless than lively, Washington mustered scant quality opportunities against Condon until Chimera scooped a loose puck past the sprawled goalie, making it 3-1 at 5:32 in the second
NOTES: Capitals F Mike Richards will not be prosecuted on a charge of possession of a controlled substance in Canada. Prosecutors stayed the charge Wednesday morning, according to court documents. … Weise (flu) returned to Montreal’s lineup after missing Monday’s game against Nashville. … Capitals C Marcus Johansson played after sitting out Monday’s 3-2 win over Arizona with the flu. .. D Mike Weber, acquired by Washington on Tuesday from Buffalo, is expected to join the team Thursday.
© 2016 The Canadian Press