WASHINGTON — Shea Weber scored to extend his point streak to five games, Carey Price made 25 saves and the Montreal Canadiens responded to a big hit by Alex Ovechkin on Jonathan Drouin, beating the Washington Capitals 5-2 on Friday night.
Phillip Danault, Weber, Jordan Weal and Nick Suzuki scored after Ovechkin flattened Drouin with an open ice hit that knocked him out for the rest of the second period. Drouin returned for the third.
Ovechkin’s shoulder-to-shoulder blow on Drouin was the first big highlight of the night after a ho-hum first period. Ovechkin appeared to leave his feet to deliver the blow, and Drouin was slow to get up before skating to the bench and going down the tunnel.
Four goals in 11 minutes after the hit provided enough support for Price, who beat the Capitals for just the eighth time in 27 career games against them. Price’s biggest save came a few shifts after Drouin’s injury when he denied Jonas Siegenthaler and was bailed out by defenceman Brett Kulak blocking the rebound, and he made a series of crucial stops in the final minutes.
Ovechkin scored on the power play in the third period, his 14th of the season, and Evgeny Kuznetsov added a breakaway goal with 4:22 left to make things interesting.
Ilya Samsonov allowed four goals on 39 shots in what was likely his final NHL action before being sent to the American Hockey League for a couple of days to clear salary-cap space. Washington lost in regulation for the first time since Oct. 14, ending a 13-game point streak (11-0-2).
Tomas Tatar sealed it with an empty-netter as Montreal won its third in a row and fourth in five games to continue a strong start.
Ovechkin’s goal was his fourth in seven games in November. … Kuznetsov has four goals in his past four games. … The Capitals dressed 11 forwards and seven defencemen with Nic Dowd injured because salary cap constraints only allowed them to recall D-man Tyler Lewington. Lewington took a few shifts at right wing. … Washington winger Carl Hagelin missed his fourth game with an upper-body injury. … Montreal forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi missed his seventh consecutive game with a groin injury.
Canadiens: Return home to face the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. Former Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid could get the nod in net.
Capitals: Turn to Braden Holtby to start Saturday at the Boston Bruins. Holtby is 16-3-0 with a 1.80 goals-against average and .946 save percentage in his career against Boston.
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Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press