Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) - The Montreal Canadiens rode a first- period offensive surge and a 25-save effort by Peter Budaj to a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Friday.
Travis Moen, David Desharnais and Daniel Briere scored in a 4:47 span in the first period for Montreal, which has won two straight and improved to 4-1-1 in its last six games.
Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading 18th and 19th goals of the season for the Capitals, who have dropped two in a row on the heels of a three-game winning streak.
Michal Neuvirth settled down after the rough opening frame to post 28 saves.
After facing only three shots in the second period, Budaj had a much heavier workload in the third as the Capitals looked to erase a two-goal deficit.
Budaj denied a shorthanded breakaway by Joel Ward and smothered Jason Chimera's rebound opportunity with about 10 minutes remaining.
Ovechkin, however, was able to trim the Capitals' deficit, redirecting John Carlson's right-point blast while battling down low with 7:33 to play.
Budaj stoned Washington the rest of the way.
"We had a really good start, obviously," said Montreal coach Michel Therrien. "I really liked the way we played the second period. We were dictating the game and had a few breakdowns at times. They were pressing a lot in the third. Peter was fantastic again."
The Canadiens pumped home three goals in rapid succession, but a late Ovechkin power-play goal put Washington on the board prior to the first intermission.
Moen and Desharnais scored their first goals of the season three minutes apart before Briere added a power-play tally.
A neutral-zone turnover led to Moen snapping a 46-game goal drought as he beat Neuvirth with a wrist shot from the left circle at the 8:53 mark. Desharnais, positioned in front of the Washington goaltender, deflected Josh Gorges one- timer from just inside the blueline. A video review deemed the puck wasn't tipped by a high stick.
Washington forward Martin Erat went to the penalty box for roughing 20 seconds later, and Briere, from the slot, collected Gorges' left-circle pass and fired the puck past Neuvirth at 13:40.
The Capitals peppered Budaj with 13 first-period shots and were able to break through with 22.3 seconds remaining. Carlson was off the mark with his bid, but Ovechkin picked up a carom off the end boards and beat the Montreal netminder with a sharp-angle shot from below the right circle.
"We spotted them a three-goal lead, and things that we're trying to avoid, turnovers on the first (goal) and taking penalties on the third (goal). The second (goal) was a tough call, but that's how it goes," said Capitals forward Troy Brouwer. "We have to have better starts. We can't expect to win games if we're down 3-0."
Budaj didn't see as much rubber in the second period, but he did turn away Nicklas Backstrom on a breakaway to preserve the Canadiens' two-goal lead.
Ovechkin is now two power-play goals shy of tying Peter Bondra (137) for the most in franchise history ... Washington defenseman Mike Green returned to the lineup after missing three games with a lower-body injury.