MONTREAL (AP) A timely goal for Nicklas Backstrom. Solid play in net from Braden Holtby.
Just business as usual for the Washington Capitals, especially in Montreal.
Backstrom scored in the third period, Holtby made 20 saves and the NHL-leading Capitals beat the Canadiens 3-2 on Saturday.
''We haven't been in many one-goal games lately,'' said Holtby, who has won his last 10 starts. ''They made a good push and ramped up the intensity. They have some guys who aren't afraid to crash the net. We knew we had to be aware of that. We kept them to one goal in those areas.''
Washington improved to 12-0-2 in its last 14 games at Montreal. The Capitals' last regulation loss at Bell Centre was on Jan. 10, 2009.
''They come at you in waves,'' said Carey Price, who made 27 saves for the Canadiens. ''They're a confident team right now. They make plays and come at you with speed. Their power play is a big threat out there.''
Montreal was trailing 2-1 in the third when Canadiens forward Alexander Radulov was sent off for hooking Alex Ovechkin. Backstrom then scored on the power play for his 15th goal at 5:16.
The Canadiens (30-16-7) got one back when Max Pacioretty scored his team-leading 25th at 7:49, but the Capitals held on from there.
''They're the hottest team in the league and we had to dig deeper to get two points from them,'' Pacioretty said. ''Playing one of the best goalies in the world and he played like it.''
It looked as if Montreal had tied it at 2 when Radulov beat Holtby on a great individual effort in the second, but the goal was waved off for goalie interference after Pacioretty steamrolled Holtby on the play.
The Canadiens did not challenge the decision, but Pacioretty thought it was a borderline call by the referees.
''He (Holtby) might have made contact on purpose,'' said Pacioretty. ''That's what I asked (Al) Montoya and Price and they thought he did. In that situation you know where the crease is from feel, and I felt like I was outside of the crease. Awkward position for his skate to be in.
''If he did it on purpose, it was an amazing play by him.''
Holtby was not challenged much after two periods - he faced seven shots in the first and another five shots in the second. But the Canadiens turned up the pressure in the third after going down by two goals.
Perhaps Holtby's best save came with six minutes remaining. Montreal's Alex Galchenyuk was all alone on goal but Holtby made the stop.
Jay Beagle scored on Washington's first shot on Price at 3:02 of the first period. The Caps forward used defenseman Nathan Beaulieu as a screen to beat Price with a wrist shot on the glove side.
Radulov tied it at 1 with a wrist shot at 7:32 of the first. Pacioretty got the play going by poking the puck away from Caps defenseman Nate Schmidt to force the turnover.
The Capitals regained the lead in the second when Andre Burakovsky fired a precise shot over Price's left shoulder into the roof of the net.
''That's key to our success,'' Caps coach Barry Trotz said. ''When teams shut down our top lines, someone steps up. That's the secret for us.''
NOTES: David Desharnais was a healthy scratch for Montreal. ... Washington D John Carlson played his 500th career NHL game. ... The game was delayed 10 minutes in the first period to repair a puck-sized hole in the boards behind Holtby's net.
Capitals: Host the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday afternoon.
Canadiens: Host the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday afternoon.
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