Capitals rout Canadiens 5-1 to take series lead

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MONTREAL (Reuters) - The top-seeded Washington Capitals seized control of their Eastern Conference playoff series with the Montreal Canadiens with a 5-1 victory on Monday.

The Capitals put the result beyond doubt with second period goals from Boyd Gordon, Brooks Laich, Eric Fehr and Alex Ovechkin that helped them to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

"For the whole game I think we played well, but we have to push on," Ovechkin told reporters.

"(Coach Bruce Boudreau) said we have 15 minutes to enjoy it and after that we forget it and concentrate on the next game."

Tomas Plekanec put the Canadiens on the board when he scored with a wrist shot at 2:25 in the third before Matt Bradley scored for the Capitals with 45 seconds left in the game.

Washington goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 26 saves.

The Presidents' Trophy winners for the most regular season points, Washington lost the first game of the series and were in danger of going 2-0 down when they trailed 4-1 in the second game on Saturday before they fought back to win it 6-5 in overtime.

That momentum carried over on Monday despite the series shifting to Montreal, with Canadiens' goaltender Jaroslav Halak being pulled after allowing three goals.

Replacement Carey Price made 21 saves.

After a scoreless first period, the Capitals thoroughly controlled the game and outshot the Canadiens 36-27.

Game Four is on Wednesday.

In Boston, Patrice Bergeron scored at 12:57 in the third period to give the Bruins a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres as well as a 2-1 series lead.

In the Western Conference playoffs, the Los Angeles Kings beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-3 and took a 2-1 series lead.

Michal Handzus scored twice during a stretch of four unanswered goals for the Kings.

(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)