Capitals crush Canadiens in one-sided affair

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Capitals crush Canadiens in one-sided affair originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Capitals took a commanding 3-0 lead in the first period and never looked back in a 6-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.

Here are some observations from the win.

A fast start

Nic Dowd scored 3:34 into the game on Washington's first shot on goal. This marks the third straight game in which the Caps have scored on their first shot. Tom Wilson scored against the Seattle Kraken on Sunday and Conor Sheary opened the scoring in San Jose on Saturday.

A one-sided night

The 6-3 final score is fairly decisive, but still does not accurately display how incredibly one-sided this game was. The Caps outshot Montreal 16-5 in the first period. The shot attempts were 30-6 at 5-on-5. These are two teams headed in opposite directions and when that happens, the bounces just seem to favor one team over the other.

Dowd made a great play to deke Jeff Petry to the outside, then turned the corner behind him to head in on the net. He then whiffed on his shot, but the puck stayed right with him, allowing Dowd to regain possession and score on a quick wraparound. A point shot from John Carlson hit off the wrist of Cedric Paquette right over the shoulder of goalie Jake Allen to make it 2-0.

When was it really clear that this was not going to be Montreal's night? When Paquette tried to clear a puck away from the front of the net, but hit it off of Mike Sgarbossa. The puck deflected off Michael Sgarbossa, then Alexander Romanov appeared to try to kick it out of the air, but it deflected off him and into the net. That made it 3-0 in just the first period.

The streak is over

Ilya Samsonov entered this game with consecutive shutouts, but his shutout streak finally came to an end in the first period. Carlson picked up a loose puck in the corner, but his backhand pass up the zone hit off of Artturi Lehkonen right to Jake Evans in front. He would score to end Samsonov's shutout streak at 170:13. Samsonov made 75 straight saves before Evans finally scored.

Samsonov finished the game with 25 saves on 28 shots. He still has yet to lose in regulation this season with a 7-0-1 record.

Ovechkin is still hitting franchise numbers

Alex Ovechkin did not score in this one, but he did record three assists. That gives him 33 points on the season, the most in franchise history through the first 20 games, according to Sportsnet. It also puts him one point ahead of Connor McDavid for second in the NHL. You know McDavid, right? The best player in the league who put together a 17-game point streak to start the season that only ended on Tuesday? He's also just 24 years old. Ovechkin is 36 and has more points.

Ovechkin now has 18 assists this season, matching his season total from 2021. It is also just one shy of his 19 assists in 2019-20.

Now about a quarter into the season, this is shaping up to be a special year for the Great 8.

Schultz leaves with injury

If you're someone who worries when things are going "too well" -- which describes pretty much all Washington sports fans -- then the other shoe dropped in the second period when it was announced Justin Schultz would not be returning. Schultz suffered an upper-body injury and did not play in the second period. He took a big hit from Petry late in the first. He would finish the shift, but did not play again afterward.

The Caps have obviously dealt with a number of injuries this season, but the blue line has remained healthy throughout. If Schultz's status is in doubt, that will present a new challenge for head coach Peter Laviolette.