Max Pacioretty finished with two goals and an assist, and Paul Byron scored the tie-breaking goal midway through the third period as the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Washington Capitals 3-2 on Friday night in Washington.
Pacioretty’s first goal gave the Canadiens a 1-0 lead in the second period but his assist in the third helped Montreal snap a three-game losing streak.
He fired a shot wide of Washington goalie Philipp Grubauer that banked off the boards behind the cage and rebounded to Byron on the edge of the left circle. Byron easily put it away to break a 1-1 tie with 9:19 left in the game.
The third period did not start well for Montreal as it came up empty on two power plays and hit the post three times in the first eight minutes. However, the Canadiens finally got a break on the Byron goal.
Pacioretty added an empty-net goal with 1:18 left that gave Montreal a 3-1 lead. Lars Eller then scored for Washington with 54 seconds remaining but the Canadiens held on.
Both teams turned to their back-up goalies in this contest. Antti Niemi started for Montreal for the first time since a Dec. 23 loss to Edmonton and earned his first victory this season. He was 0-1-1 in four games, including two starts with the Canadiens, and 0-5-1 overall with three teams this season.
Niemi posted 24 saves in the victory.
Grubauer had been hot of late for Washington and played well once again with 23 saves in the loss. He is 4-1-2 in his last seven appearances.
Washington now has lost two games in two nights, having fallen to New Jersey in a road contest on Thursday.
The Canadiens took a 1-0 lead just 14 seconds after Washington’s Tom Wilson was whistled for hooking when Pacioretty beat Grubauer on a quick wrist shot at 7:08 of the second period.
Washington tied it later in the period on a John Carlson power-play goal with 6:36 left.
In off-the-ice news, Red Fisher, who covered the Canadiens from 1955 until 2012, died on Friday at the age of 91. Fisher received numerous honors, including the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award.
— Field Level Media