Montreal is unbeaten in 11 of its last 15 games (8-4-3), including Monday’s 4-1 home victory over Pittsburgh. Saku Koivu and Sheldon Souray had a goal and an assist apiece for the Canadiens. Pierre Dagenais and Niklas Sundstrom also scored, and Jose Theodore made 16 saves for Montreal.
Souray’s goal was his team-leading 12th of the season. That total also leads all NHL defensemen. The 27-year-old blueliner, who has never had more than three goals in any of his previous five seasons, has 10 points over his last six games.
Dagenais has nine points in 12 games since being recalled from the minors on Nov. 25.
Mike Ribeiro, who had an assist Monday, has also been on a roll. The left wing has six points in his last three games.
The Capitals remained winless on their five-game homestand (0-1-1-0) after blowing a 2-0 lead in Sunday’s 5-4 defeat to the New York Islanders.
“We should have a better result, we should play smarter,” said Washington’s Peter Bondra, who had three assists.
Bondra, who hadn’t recorded three assists in a game since Oct. 31, 2000, has nine on the season and 348 for his career. He is 11 assists behind Bengt Gustafsson for fifth place on the Capitals’ all-time list.
Jaromir Jagr recorded an assist in his return to the lineup after missing two games with a thumb injury. The star right winger has 17 points in his last 19 games.