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Capitals win fifth straight in 3-2 wn over Canadiens

The SportsXchange

MONTREAL _ Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals are on a very timely roll.

Ovechkin scored his 26th goal and Washington extended its winning streak to five with a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.

Jack Hillen assisted on Eric Fehr's go-ahead goal before adding his first of the season. Michal Neuvirth stopped 27 shots for Washington, which leads the Southeast Division with 44 points.

"It's the biggest points for us right now," said Ovechkin, who remains tied with Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos for the NHL goals lead. "We beat a team in front of us and we know that we can play against good teams. I think all of us played well and it started right away. We just keep going and playing our system and it gives us results."

The Capitals remain two points ahead of Winnipeg, which beat Buffalo. Washington has eight games remaining, including one more than the Jets.

Lars Eller scored twice for Montreal, which had won two in a row and five of six. Carey Price made 24 saves.

The Canadiens, who have nine games left to play, remain first in the Northeast Division with 55 points, one ahead of Boston. The Bruins have 10 games left.

"We got some opportunities to put the puck at the net, but they did a great job to be in those shooting lanes, and when they scored some goals it seemed like the puck found ways to go behind Pricer," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said.

Ovechkin extended his goal-scoring streak to three games 7:50 into the second period. The Russian superstar drew Washington even at 1-1 with a shot past Price from the deep slot for his 17th goal in 15 games.

Fehr got credit for his seventh goal at 9:36 to put the Capitals up 2-1. Price stopped Hillen's point shot, only to have the puck pop up and over him before dropping into the net off a scramble.

Hillen made it a two-goal lead 5:33 into the third with his first goal since Dec. 6, 2011.

He had two assists in Sunday's 4-2 win over Tampa Bay after recording one point through his first 13 games of the season.

"It's been a good week so I guess things are going well for me," Hillen said. "That's all I can say."

Eller, who opened the scoring in the first, got his second of the game with 3:22 left in the third to draw Montreal within one.

Price came up with a number of big saves in the early going as Washington took a 9-0 lead in shots.

Montreal got its first shot 6:22 into the game and turned the momentum in its favor.

Alex Galchenyuk started a promising rush and Brandon Prust chased down a puck that went wide behind the net. Prust fed a centering pass to Eller, who was left unmarked in the goalmouth to snap a shot past Neuvirth at 15:44.

"The first 10 minutes we weren't hard enough on the puck," Eller said. "We were a step behing too many times. In the second period, they got the momentum and took the lead and we never really regained it."

NOTES: Canadiens left wing Rene Bourque returned after missing 21 games with because of a concussion. ... Forwards Martin Erat and Joel Ward were both out of the Capitals' lineup with injuries. Ward injured his left leg when he blocked a slap shot by Tampa Bay's Sami Salo on Sunday. Erat, who was acquired from Nashville in a trade-deadline deal, missed his second straight game because of a lower-body injury. ... Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin is out for the rest of the season with a torn ligament in his left knee. He suffered the injury when he checked Boston's Milan Lucic on Saturday night. Emelin had three goals and nine assists in 38 games. ... Montreal right wing Colby Armstrong missed his fourth straight game with a knee injury. Defenseman Raphael Diaz is out with a concussion.
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