Capitals beat Canadiens in shootout

By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 29, 2009

MONTREAL -- Six years after being drafted in the first round, and two years after a mysterious back ailment almost ended his career, Washington Capitals winger Eric Fehr finally is making his impact felt.

Fehr scored his second goal of the game with 11.4 seconds remaining in regulation Saturday night, then Nicklas Backstrom netted the only tally in penalty shots to lift the Capitals to a 4-3 victory at Bell Centre.

Fehr's goals were his fourth and fifth in the past nine games for Washington, which has gained points in four straight games (2-0-2).

"When Eric is going to the net with reckless abandon, then he's really good," Coach Bruce Boudreau said of the 24-year-old. "On both goals he goes to the net and gets the tip and gets the rebound. When he plays on the perimeter and just hopes his shots go in, he's not as effective. I thought tonight he had a good game that's why he played in the overtime."

Then Boudreau deadpanned, "But I wasn't going to use him in the shootout, though."

Fehr's timely goal came on a rebound off a shot by Alex Ovechkin (game-high eight shots) that he tucked between Carey Price's pads and was the Capitals' first since midway through the first period. It also ensured they would earn at least one point on a night when they blew a 2-0 lead and were outplayed for long stretches.

Then Backstrom made sure the Capitals got both points.

After a furious overtime, Capitals goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who improved to 10-1-2 with a 21-save effort, turned back penalty shots by Mike Cammalleri, Maxim Lapierre and Tomas Plekanec. At the other end, Price thwarted Tomas Fleischmann and Ovechkin. But Price couldn't handle Backstrom's precise shot from in tight, which beat him beneath the blocker.

"I have been struggling a little bit," said Backstrom, whose assist on Ovechkin's first-period goal was only his second in eight games. "But I feel my legs are getting better and more fresh. The NHL is not easy."

The third period, which began knotted at 2, saw the Capitals finding penalty trouble. Montreal's Travis Moen made them pay.

First, minor league call-up Alexandre Giroux was called for tripping, then Brooks Laich was banished for holding, giving the Canadiens a five-on-three for more than a minute. The penalty on Giroux was his second of the night and might not have been deserved.

"He got called for two penalties, but the second one was their guy tripping," Boudreau said.

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