Braden Holtby hot in goal, Oshie scores twice, as Capitals top Canadiens 3-2

Braden Holtby hot in goal, Oshie scores twice, as Capitals top Canadiens 3-2

Main pic: Washington Capitals’ T.J. Oshie (77) celebrates with teammate Alex Ovechkin (8) after scoring against the Montreal Canadiens during third period NHL hockey action in Montreal, Thursday, December 3, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes.

MONTREAL — The Montreal Canadiens had everything going their their way on Thursday night, but they didn’t have Braden Holtby.

The Washington goalie made several brilliant saves as the Capitals downed the Canadiens 3-2 despite being outshot 35-19.

“He can really sway the game in our favour when he makes those big saves time after time,” said Washington forward T.J. Oshie, who had two goals — including the game-winner 8:17 into the third period.

“There are a lot of things we have to clean up so he doesn’t have to bail us out so much, but tonight was his for sure.”

Tom Wilson also scored for Washington (18-5-1), which posted a sixth consecutive victory.

Lars Eller and Brian Flynn scored for Montreal (19-5-3), which had points in its previous six games despite injuries to star goalie Carey Price, first-line right winger Brendan Gallagher and others.

The Capitals improved to 10-0-2 in regular season games at the Bell Centre since 2009 and Holtby ran his career record against Montreal to 7-0-2.

Washington needed Holtby at his best as the Canadiens outworked the Capitals most of the game and had the majority of scoring chances.

One came eight minutes into the first period when he managed to get a pad on a point-blank shot from Max Pacioretty after a clever feed from David Desharnais.

“It’s frustrating because he didn’t even know the pass came out on that side,” said Pacioretty, who had nine shots on the night. “It just banked off his toe.

“I knew he was a good goalie but he really impressed me tonight.”

“The hockey gods were not on our side,” added Montreal coach Michel Therrien. “We were playing a very good team and we carried the play. (Holtby) was the story of the game.”

At the other end Mike Condon allowed three goals on his first 16 shots.

The Capitals scored on their first shot of the game as Brooks Laich picked off a pass in the Montreal zone and fed Wilson for a quick shot that found a way through Condon’s legs.

The Canadiens were outshooting Washington 13-1 in the second period alone when they finally beat Holtby as Eller slipped the puck under his pads from the edge of the crease at 10:08 — two seconds after a power play expired.

But with 44 seconds left in the period, Oshie’s shot deflected off Condon high in air, landed on the goalie’s shoulder and fell into the net.

The Canadiens got their sixth short-handed goal of the season 2:30 into the third when Paul Byron won a puck along the boards and sent Flynn on a breakaway to deke Holtby and score.

Oshie deflected a Karl Alzner shot in the slot and saw the puck go in off the post for the eventual winner.

“Bounces haven’t been going my way but we haven’t really needed it,” said Oshie, who had one goal in his previous eight games. “We’ve been getting scoring from all over the place. But tonight we got two good ones.”

The Canadiens next play at Carolina while Washington moves on to Winnipeg, both on Saturday.

Notes: Montreal’s Michael Bournival, out nearly a year with a concussion, cleared waivers and was assigned to AHL St. John’s. . . Condon made his fourth straight start . . . The Capitals had not played since their win in Toronto on Saturday.

Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press

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