Washington
Capitals
29-41-12
Montréal
Canadiens
42-31-9
OT
29 SOG
33 SOG
1st2nd3rdOTT
WSH
MTL
game recap

Canadiens 3, Capitals 2, OT

Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 2:20 AM

Associated Press

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Canadiens 3, Capitals 2, OT
Washington Capitals 2, Montréal Canadiens 3

MONTREAL (AP) - Saku Koivu's breakaway goal prevented the Montreal Canadiens' fans from seeing rookie sensation Alexander Ovechkin go to work in a shootout.

They were just fine with that - and so was goalie Cristobal Huet.

"Of course with a minute remaining you're going to have to start thinking about it but I'm lucky, I didn't face him," Huet said after Koivu scored his first goal in more than two months to give the Canadiens a 3-2 overtime victory over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night.

Koivu, who extended his points streak to five games earlier in the game, broke in alone on Olaf Kolzig and put a backhand past the Washington goalie with 57.4 remaining in overtime to end his 23-game goal drought.

"I thought I had it jammed between my body and the glove," Kolzig said. "I didn't see it and I thought I was going to hold it long enough for the whistle and then all of a sudden I saw it trickle in. The puck didn't go my way on that play."

The Montreal captain hadn't found the back of the net since Jan. 28, when he scored twice - including the overtime winner - in a 4-3 victory in Toronto.

"I thought about shooting because the ice was really bad at that point," Koivu said. "I was really tired at the end of my shift and Kolzig's a very big goalie and covers a lot so I thought about just making a quick move to the side and try to find some open net. Lucky enough, it went into the net."

Ovechkin earned his 45th assist when Ben Clymer scored at 18:37 of the second to tie it at 1. Ovechkin ended a three-game goal streak and remains two goals short of becoming only the fourth rookie to ever score 50 goals in a season, and first since Anaheim's Teemu Selanne set a rookie record of 76 with the Winnipeg Jets in 1992-93.

"We played very well, but we had lots of penalties," Ovechkin said.

Washington center Jeff Halpern scored a power-play goal with 2.5 seconds remaining in regulation to tie it after he was involved in an odd play off a faceoff that led to Montreal taking a 2-1 earlier in the third.

"At the time it was a great feeling, tying the score up," Halpern said. "It's always fun. It's a fun building, it's a fun atmosphere and it gave us a chance to really silence the crowd, if we had pulled it off in overtime or a shootout."

Montreal rookie Chris Higgins scored his second of the game 8:23 into the third, taking advantage of Kolzig's puckhandling mistake.

Higgins jumped on a loose puck to Kolzig's right and put it into a wide open net just 3 seconds into Montreal's ninth power play of the game when the Washington goalie mishandled a pass back to him from Halpern off a faceoff in the Capitals' zone after Brian Willsie was sent off for hooking at 8:20.

"I obviously felt horrible because our penalty killing was doing a heck of a job tonight and Halpern did a great job in winning the faceoff," Kolzig said. "I give the guys a lot of credit for digging down and getting it back for me at the end of the game."

Huet made 27 saves for Montreal, which remained tied with New Jersey and Tampa Bay for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. The Canadiens have won five straight.

Ben Clymer scored his 15th late in the second for Washington, which had won two in a row and claimed five of a possible six points in its last three games (2-0-1).

Koivu assisted on Higgins' first goal of the game, which put the Canadiens up 1-0 midway through the second.

Outshot 17-7 in the first, the Capitals battled hard, killing five penalties in the first and three more in the second while outshooting Montreal 10-7 in the period.

Higgins connected for the third straight game to open the scoring at even strength 11:29 into the second. The Smithtown, N.Y., native has scored five goals over that stretch and 19 this season.

Notes: Hall of Famer Mike Bossy became the first rookie to score 50 goals in 1977-78, finishing his first season with the New York Islanders with 53 goals. Florida's Joe Nieuwendyk scored 51 as a rookie with Calgary in 1987-88. ... The Canadiens have sold out each of their 35 home games this season.

scoring summary
1st Period
NONE
2nd Period
11:29
MTL
Chris Higgins (18) Wrist shot - ASST: Saku Koivu (40), Sheldon Souray (24)
1 - 0 MTL
18:37
WSH
Ben Clymer (15) Backhand shot - ASST: Alex Ovechkin (45), Brian Sutherby (15)
1 - 1 Tie
3rd Period
08:23
MTL
PPG - Chris Higgins (19) Wrist shot - ASST: NONE
2 - 1 MTL
19:57
WSH
PPG - Jeff Halpern (6) Backhand shot - ASST: Brian Willsie (19), Alex Ovechkin (46)
2 - 2 Tie
OT Period
04:02
MTL
Saku Koivu (15) Backhand shot - ASST: NONE
3 - 2 MTL
penalty summary
1st Period
02:01
WSH
Brian Sutherby  Hi-sticking against  Chris Higgins
03:31
WSH
Jamie Heward  Interference against  Richard Zednik
07:29
WSH
Steve Eminger  Hi-sticking against  Tomas Plekanec
12:55
WSH
Ivan Majesky  Hooking against  Alex Kovalev
15:23
MTL
Craig Rivet  Hooking against  Alex Ovechkin
17:18
WSH
Jeff Halpern  Cross checking against  Steve Begin
2nd Period
04:01
MTL
Steve Begin  Interference against  Chris Clark
04:01
MTL
Steve Begin  Slashing against  Olie Kolzig
04:01
WSH
Olie Kolzig  Slashing against  Steve Begin
06:15
WSH
Brian Willsie  Too many men/ice - bench
12:20
WSH
Ivan Majesky  Tripping against  Alex Kovalev
15:49
WSH
Brooks Laich  Interference on goalkeeper against  Cristobal Huet
18:53
MTL
Garth Murray  Hooking against  Jeff Halpern
3rd Period
08:20
WSH
Brian Willsie  Hooking against  Radek Bonk
08:45
MTL
Aaron Downey  Interference against  Chris Clark
12:45
MTL
Mike Komisarek  Hooking
17:41
WSH
Alex Ovechkin  Hi-sticking against  Aaron Downey
18:27
MTL
Mike Ribeiro  Hooking against  Shaone Morrisonn
OT Period
01:10
MTL
Sheldon Souray  Roughing against  Bryan Muir
01:10
WSH
Bryan Muir  Roughing against  Sheldon Souray
goalie stats
Olie Kolzig
SA: 33TOI: 62:59
Saves: 30EV: 15 - 17
PIM: 2PP: 14 - 15
SV%: .909SH: 1 - 1
Cristobal Huet
SA: 29TOI: 63:59
Saves: 27EV: 16 - 17
PIM: 0PP: 9 - 10
SV%: .931SH: 2 - 2