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Varlamov, Ovechkin pace Caps' blanking of Montreal

Semyon Varlamov made 25 saves, and Alex Ovechkin was one of three goal scorers for the Washington Capitals in a 3-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.

Jay Beagle and Mike Green scored late in the first period. Beagle connected with a spinning, backhander with 3:40 remaining, and Green made it 2-0 with 37.5 seconds left.

Ovechkin sealed the win with an empty-net goal in the final minute of the game.

Varlamov posted his second shutout this season, making a bunch of strong stops early as Montreal recorded the first six shots in the opening seven minutes. The Capitals have posted three shutout wins.

Washington is 4-0-1 since an eight-game losing streak. The Capitals have given up only 12 goals in seven games.

The Canadiens had only three shots in the first period after their initial spurt. The Capitals limited Montreal to six in the third period.

Washington topped the Canadiens in the first meeting between the teams since Montreal upset the top-seeded Capitals in the first round of last season's playoffs by winning the final three games.

Montreal is in the midst of a seven-game road trip, its longest this season. The Canadiens have lost four of the first five games on this trip and will go 17 days without a home game.

Beagle gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead with a shot over goalie Carey Price's shoulder. The rookie got a loose puck near the boards, came out front and faked a pass to the left. Beagle quickly spun the other way and beat Price for his second goal.

David Steckel appeared to score for Washington with two minutes left in the period, but the officials waved it off.

Green doubled the lead, taking a nice cross-ice pass from Nicklas Backstrom and beating Price to the short side.

Backstrom also helped by winning 10 of 12 faceoffs. Steckel took 15 of 22, and Washington won 36 of 52 overall.

Washington is off until Saturday's Winter Classic against the Penguins at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field.

NOTES: Defenseman Jeff Schultz returned for Washington after missing nine games with a broken right thumb. ... The Capitals went 5-6-3 in December, their first losing month since November 2008. ... The Canadiens acquired D James Wisniewski from the New York Islanders for two draft picks. He will join the team Wednesday. ... Former Capitals forward Jeff Halpern returned to Washington for the first time with the Canadiens.