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Capitals 5, Canadiens 0

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MONTREAL -- Washington left winger Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading 36th goal and assisted on center Casey Wellman's first of the season, and goalie Braden Holtby made 21 saves for his second shutout in the Capitals' 5-0 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.

Ovechkin, who returned after missing two games because of a lower-body injury, scored the first of Washington's four goals in the second 1:46 into the middle period. He has four goals in his past five games, and five goals in his past seven.

Defenseman John Erskine, center Jay Beagle and defenseman John Carlson also scored for the Capitals, who ended a five-game losing streak with their first win in eight games (1-5-2).

Holtby, who has nine career shutouts, made 30 saves in a 7-0 win in Philadelphia on Nov. 1. It was his first win in eight games since a 5-2 victory against Nashville on Dec. 7.

Montreal goalie Carey Price was pulled for the second time in three games after Carlson scored Washington's fourth goal at 10:31 of the second. Price stopped 22 of 26 shots before he was replaced by backup goalie Peter Budaj, who made seven saves the rest of the way.

The Canadiens, who have lost four in a row, have allowed four goals or more in six straight games, and in 10 of their past 13.

Erskine made it 2-0 with his first goal of the season at 3:05 of the second, and Beagle increased the lead to 3-0 with his first at 6:21.

Montreal left winger Brandon Prust was given a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, a 10-minute misconduct, and a game misconduct after Carlson's goal made it 4-0.

The Bell Centre crowd gave the Canadiens an emphatic Bronx cheer when center Daniel Briere got their first shot on goal 12:45 into the second period. Montreal had been outshot 26-3 overall to that point as Washington took the first 14 shots of the middle period.

Wellman, who was recalled from AHL Hershey earlier in the day, scored his first Washington goal on a set-up from Ovechkin 8:38 into the third.

Washington had a potential goal waved off at the end of the first period. The green light signifying time had expired was lit up before right winger Troy Brouwer shot into a wide-open net.

NOTES: Saturday's game was the last of three games between the Capitals and Canadiens this season, the only one in Montreal. They split the first two games in Washington. The Capitals won 3-2 in a shootout Nov. 29, one week after the Canadiens won 3-2 at Verizon Center. ... Capitals C Mikhail Grabovski missed the game after sustaining an apparent left leg injury Friday in Washington's 2-1 loss at New Jersey. He was injured in a collision with Devils D Bryce Salvador. Grabovski has 12 goals and 21 assists for 33 points in 49 games. ... Washington recalled C Casey Wellman from AHL Hershey on Saturday. Wellman, who played his second game of the season for the Capitals, had 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points in 37 games with the Bears. He had no points in 9:13 ice-time in a 5-2 loss to Philadelphia on Dec. 17. ... Capitals D Nate Schmidt was sent down to AHL Hershey. ... D Francis Bouillon, D Raphael Diaz and RW George Parros did not dress for Montreal.
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