The Washington Capitals continue to look playoff impressive and ready. The Caps downed the Montreal Canadians 4-2 last night for their ninth consecutive win, as they begin a six game road trip. The win was also the fifth consecutive win for rookie net minder Braden Holtby.
Marcus Johansson continue to develop into a fine centerman for the Capitals in his first season after being drafted in the first round in 2009. Johansson had his second two goal performance of the season last night, last one coming January 11thagainst Florida, goals 10 and 11 on the season. The first came just 1:06 into the game, when the puck made an off bounce off the board, catching Montreal goalie Carey Price by surprised and landing on the stick for an easy goal by Johansson. Johansson’s 10thtally of the season was assisted by Dennis Wideman and Holtby. Johansson extended his point streak to four straight games.
That lead would not last, as the Caps gimme goal was followed up by a Habs gimme goal, after Holtby misplayed the puck and got caught out of position by Travis Moen, who tied it up at 1-1. Brooks Laich added his 16thof the season a little over the 13 minute mark to send Washington into the first intermission with a 2-1 lead. Laich took the puck right to the face of Price and landed the tally. It was assisted by Karl Alzner and John Carlson.
Andre Kostitsyn scored the only goals of the second period to tie the game at 2-2.
Marcus Johansson would add his second goal of the game in the third period to give the Capitals a 3-2 lead, one they would not relinquish. The Johansson tally was assisted by Alex Ovechkin. Mike Knuble added the capper at the 16:53 mark, his 17thof the season. Marco Strum assisted the Knuble goal.
Holtby stopped 24 of 26 shots on net to earn his fifth consecutive win and improve overall to 9-2-2. Bruce Boudreau knows he needs to make a stabilizing decision in the net as the playoffs continue inching closer. The problem is, Holtby is making that decision much more difficult and complex with his impressive play between the pipes. Overall, Holtby is now 9-2-2 with a GAA of 1.95 and a save percentage of .930.
The win pulls the Caps back to a five point Southeast Division lead over Tampa Bay and back to within 1 point of Philadelphia for the Eastern Conference lead.
Marcus Johansson, 2 goals
@ Detroit, tonight at 7:30PM.