Montreal Canadiens stumble, lose 6-3 to the Capitals

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) chases the puck next to Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexander Romanov (27) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Washington. The Capitals won 6-3. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

The Montreal Canadiens got their three-game trip to the U.S. off to a rough start Wednesday night, falling 6-3 to the Washington Capitals.

Jake Evans, Cole Caufield, and Artturi Lehkonen hit the target for the Canadiens (5-14-2), who were still trying to win their second straight game for the first time this season. It was also the ninth time this season that the Habs had conceded five or more goals in a game.

Nic Dowd, John Carlson, Michael Sgarbossa, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Tom Wilson, and Dmitry Orlov all scored for the Capitals (12-3-5), who recorded their third straight win.

Alex Ovechkin finished the game with three assists, moving him into 27th place in NHL scoring history with 1,353 career points.

Jake Allen, back in net for the first time since suffering a concussion on Nov. 13 against the Detroit Red Wings, looked rusty at times and finished his night with 28 saves.

His opponent, Ilya Samsonov, was true to form, stopping 25 of 28 shots.

Things didn't start well for head coach Dominique Ducharme's team. With less than five minutes on the clock, the Canadiens were already trailing.

Dowd opened the scoring at the 3:34 mark of the first period after easily outrunning Jeff Petry on the right, before skating around Allen's net and beating him to the far post.

Carlson then doubled the lead at 9:43, and Sgarbossa extended the lead to 3-0 with just over five minutes to play in the period.

As a small consolation, Evans took advantage of a Carlson turnover deep in his own territory to pick up a loose puck in the slot and surprise Samsonov with 1:14 to play in the first period. It was 3-1 in favour of the home team.

The two teams then traded a goal each in the second period.

After Kuznetsov's goal at 9:05, Caufield ended his offensive drought by slamming a puck into the net from just behind the Caps' red line, despite Samsonov's last-ditch intervention.

The goal was awarded after a video replay, confirming No. 22's first NHL goal since the famous June 24 game against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Wilson, and then Orlov, nailed the Habs' coffin, however, by rattling the ropes early in the third. Lehkonen rounded out the scoring by beating Samsonov with a precise breakaway shot with 2:25 left in the game.

In the win, the Caps lost the services of defenseman Justin Schultz to an upper body injury.

The Habs will continue their road trip Friday night, visiting the Sabres in Buffalo.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Nov. 24, 2021.