WASHINGTON – The Washington Capitals have been dominant for most of the season. Lately, though, the Eastern Conference leaders have been playing from behind. And, against the Montreal Canadiens, they couldn’t pull off another comeback.
Alex Galchenyuk scored two goals, Mike Condon made 33 saves and the Canadiens topped the Eastern Conference-leading Capitals 4-3 on Wednesday night.
The Canadiens built a 3-0 lead and chased Capitals goalie Braden Holtby in the second period before holding on as Washington tallied two late goals.
“We played the best team in the league in their building,” Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. “They’re really tough to play against, and the way that we came out gave us the confidence.”
Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Fleischmann added goals for Montreal, which has lost four of five, and two previous meetings with Washington this season.
Trailing 4-1, the Capitals scored twice inside the final minutes, including Andre Burakovsky’s goal with 2:53 remaining. Jason Chimera and Dmitri Orlov also scored for the President’s Trophy front-runners, who entered 17-1-1 over their previous 19 home games.
Alex Ovechkin, the NHL leader with 39 goals, had one assist, but did not score for the first time in four games for Washington.
The Capitals were 9-1-0 in their previous 10 games, while the Canadiens were 3-14-1 in their last 18 on the road.
Galchenyuk’s first score meant slow-starting Washington trailed for the sixth straight game. The Capitals won four of the previous five.
“We can’t come back every night,” Washington center Nicklas Backstrom said. “That’s not going to happen. We have to play a better 60-minute game.”
Bruins 5, Penguins 1
In Boston, David Pastrnak had two goals, including one on a penalty shot, and the Bruins whipped Pittsburgh.
Boston outscored the Penguins 14-3 while sweeping the three-game season series.
Tuukka Rask made 41 saves for the Bruins. Jimmy Hayes, Landon Ferraro and Brad Marchand also scored.
Tom Kuhnhackl scored to bring Pittsburgh within 2-1 late in the second period. The puck went in off Kuhnhackl’s skate, and the goal survived a video review. Ducks 1, Sabres 0
In Anaheim, Frederik Andersen made 26 saves in his fourth career shutout, Sami Vatanen scored on a power play in the second period and the Ducks beat Buffalo for their season-best sixth straight victory.
Resurgent Anaheim climbed within two points of the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Kings. The Ducks are 20-4-2 in their last 26 games. Avalanche 4, Sharks 3 (SO)
In Denver, Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene scored in the shootout, Shawn Matthias had a goal in his Colorado debut and the Avalanche beat San Jose.
Calvin Pickard came up big in the shootout by stopping two shots. He made 30 saves filling in for starter Semyon Varlamov, who was out with the flu.