WASHINGTON — Tomas Tatar had a goal and three assists, and the Montreal Canadiens ended the Washington Capitals’ 13-game point streak with a 5-2 victory at Capital One Arena on Friday.
Phillip Danault had a goal and two assists, Shea Weber had a goal and an assist, and Carey Price made 26 saves for Montreal (11-5-3), which has won three straight and is 7-1-1 in its past nine games.
“I think the whole game was a lot of fun,” said Tatar, whose four points were an NHL career high. “We played a strong game, played the right way, and we’re happy with these two big points. Obviously, they’re a really strong team and that’s just a good effort from four lines.”
Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored, and Ilya Samsonov made 35 saves for Washington (14-3-4), which lost in regulation for the first time since Oct. 14 (11-0-2 during streak).
“We didn’t execute our wall plays, we made lots of turnovers in neutral zone, and it just cost us the game,” Ovechkin said. “We know we have to and we can play better. You saw it, guys. We know it. It’s our fault.”
Montreal outshot Washington 15-9 in the first period but couldn’t get one past Samsonov.
The game turned at 4:14 of the second period after Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin was shaken up following a hit by Ovechkin. Drouin went to the locker room and Canadiens coach Claude Julien said he went through concussion protocol before returning for the start of the third period.
Without Drouin, the Canadiens responded by scoring four goals in 8:20 to take a 4-0 lead.
“I think it just woke us up,” Danault said. “That (hit) was not great, but it definitely woke up the team. [Drouin] took a hit for the team and came back and is healthy, so that’s all that matters.”
Danault gave the Canadiens a 1-0 lead at 6:22 of the second when he received a pass from Tatar while alone in the slot and lifted in a backhand over Samsonov’s left pad.
Weber made it 2-0 at 9:16 with a one-timer from along the left boards, and Jordan Weal extended the lead to 3-0 at 11:41 with a backhand from the left circle that hit the far post and bounced in off Samsonov.
Nick Suzuki scored to make it 4-0 at 14:42 when his cross-crease pass intended for Brendan Gallagher deflected in off the stick of Capitals defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler.
Ovechkin brought Washington to within 4-1 with a power-play goal from the top of the left circle at 5:34 of the third period. It was Ovechkin’s 14th goal of the season.
Kuznetsov scored on a breakaway at 15:38 to cut it to 4-2, but Tatar scored an empty-net goal with 2:31 left for the 5-2 final.
“I really liked our game tonight from start to finish,” Julien said. “We had to not necessarily weather their start, but we knew they were going to have a good start and I thought we started off well, too. They had a couple of really good scoring chances in the first 10 minutes that Carey made big saves on and kept us in there, and the goal was to come out of the first period either tied or ahead.
“So we managed to do that and eventually we just kind of took over.”
They said it
“They’re a good team. You see what they’ve got. They’ve got a lot of skill, poise. They play with a lot of speed and it’s a big win for us, but we’ve got about 5-10 minutes to enjoy it and go back to work for tomorrow.” — Canadiens captain Shea Weber
“We made a push at the end, but we weren’t sharp. For the most part, we’ve been really consistent this year. That game we were off. The good thing about a back-to-back is we’re right back at it tomorrow. Make some adjustments here to our group for tomorrow and get prepared to take on obviously an excellent Boston team.” — Capitals coach Todd Reirden
Need to know
Price’s win was his 331st in the NHL, which passed Harry Lumley for 26th in League history. … Weber extended his point streak to five games (four goals, three assists). … Capitals defenseman John Carlson had an assist on Ovechkin’s goal to extend his point streak to five games (one goal, seven assists). … With forwards Carl Hagelin (upper body) and Nic Dowd (hand laceration) injured, the Capitals recalled defenseman Tyler Lewington from Hershey of the American Hockey League and dressed 11 forwards and seven defensemen. Lewington had three hits and two blocks in 8:49 of ice time.
Canadiens: Host the New Jersey Devils on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CITY, SNE, TVAS, MSG+, NHL.TV)
Capitals: At the Boston Bruins on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, NESN, NBCSWA, NHL.TV)