WASHINGTON — Travis Moen and Tomas Plekanec scored in a three-minute span early in the second period, Michael Cammalleri added a goal in the third, and the Montreal Canadiens withstood a furious comeback to beat the Washington Capitals 3-2 on Friday night.
Montreal led 3-1, but Brendan Morrison scored with 2:32 remaining to pull Washington within a goal. Then Maxim Lapierre was whistled for hooking with 1:52 to play, giving the Capitals a power play through the end of regulation.
Washington pulled its goalie with a minute to play, one of the Canadiens players lost his stick, and the Capitals held siege in the offensive zone. But the closest they got to tying the game came when Mike Green's drive hit the right post with less than 25 seconds left.
Carey Price made 32 saves for the Canadiens, who won for only the third time in nine road games despite getting outshot 27-8 over the last two periods.
Eric Fehr scored in the first period for the Capitals, who couldn't complain about a lack of chances. The puck seemed to flutter in front of the Montreal net for much of the game, but Alex Ovechkin and his teammates weren't able to finish.
With veteran goalie Jose Theodore dealing with personal issues and youngster Semyon Varlamov getting a day off in the first half of a back-to-back, Michal Neuvirth made his season debut for Washington and finished with 19 saves.
The Capitals were also missing Alexander Semin, who has nine goals on the season. He sat out a second straight game because of an injured right wrist.
Washington took the early lead when Fehr beat Price glove-side through traffic from the left circle, but the Canadiens came back with a pair of goals not long after the first intermission.
Moen tied it when he redirected Roman Hamrlik's drive from the blue line, and Plekanec made it 2-1 with a close-range shot that appeared to hit Morrison's hand and then trickled through Neuvirth's legs. Montreal recorded only four shots in the second period, but two found the net.
The Canadiens also didn't have a power play in the first two periods — in fact, they have not drawn more than four power plays in their last 12 games — but they capitalized in the third after Brooks Laich went off for tripping. Cammalleri, who had scored one goal in his previous six games, netted his ninth of the season during the man advantage with 7:31 remaining to put Montreal ahead 3-1.
D Ryan O'Byrne returned for the Canadiens after missing 19 games with a lower body injury, and RW Georges Laraque was back after sitting out 13 games with an upper body injury. … Washington D John Carlson made his NHL debut. The 27th overall pick in the 2008 draft, the 19-year-old Carlson is the youngest Capitals player to make his debut since Semin in the 2003-04 season. … Washington played without LW Quintin Laing (broken jaw) and D Shaone Morrisonn (upper body), both injured against the Rangers on Tuesday. Laing is out four to six weeks, and Morrisonn is day-to-day.