Lars Eller scored with 1:26 left in overtime to give the Washington Capitals a come-from-behind 5-4 victory over the host Montreal Canadiens on Monday night.
Montreal had won two in a row and held a 4-2 lead just 1:35 into the second period before Washington pulled rookie goalie Pheonix Copley in favor of Braden Holtby. Holtby shut out the Canadiens the rest of the way.
Copley started his fourth straight game as Holtby dealt with an “upper-body” injury, but struggled this time. Holtby stopped all 22 shots he faced and gave the Capitals a chance to score the game’s final three goals.
The game-winner came when Eller, a former Canadien, took a quick pass from Jakub Vrana and snapped a wrist shot past goalie Carey Price from the edge of the left circle.
Washington was short-handed, as two of its top offensive threats, Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie, have been out since the first part of the Capitals’ road trip after taking hits to the head in a game versus Winnipeg. Both players are listed as “day-to-day.”
The Canadiens took the lead first when Mike Reilly scored at the 9:20 mark. But the Capitals bounced back with goals from Brett Connolly and Alex Ovechkin for a 2-1 lead after one period.
Montreal then notched three goals in 75 seconds in the first two minutes of the second period and appeared to take command. Brendan Gallagher tied the game 20 seconds in by tipping in a pass from Phillip Danault from the front.
The Canadiens took a 3-2 lead when Jeff Petry corralled a loose puck just to Copley’s right and flipped it in for a power-play goal at 1:08. They made it 4-2 when Kenny Agostino deflected a shot past Copley just 27 seconds later.
That ended Copley’s night, and Holtby came on to shut down Montreal. Nicklas Backstrom cut the lead to 4-3 on a goal with 6:40 left in the second period before Ovechkin tied it on the power play score 1:02 into the third.
—Field Level Media