Montreal, QC – Jack Hillen's first goal of the season proved to be the game-winner as the Washington Capitals took a big 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.
The win gives Washington 44 points on the season, and the team sits in first place in the Southeast Division, third in the Eastern Conference, with a two- point lead over Winnipeg, which defeated Buffalo on Tuesday.
Eric Fehr and Alex Ovechkin both had goals for the Capitals, who have won five straight. Michal Neuvirth posted 27 saves for the win.
"It's the biggest points for us right now," said Ovechkin. "We beat the team in front of us so we know we can play against good teams. But we have to keep going and play our system, which gives us results."
Montreal will remain in first place in the Northeast Division with a one-point lead over idle Boston. The Bruins, though, do have a game in hand.
Lars Eller scored both goals for the Canadiens, who had won five of six coming in. Carey Price turned aside 24 shots in the loss.
"We weren't quite there today," said Eller. "They got two points they shouldn't have had. The first 10 minutes of the game, we weren't hard enough on the puck. We were a step behind many times and in the second period they got momentum."
Montreal got the first goal of the game as a rush up the middle was broken up, but Brandon Prust grabbed the puck to the right of the net and centered it where Eller one-timed it home with 4:16 to play in the first.
Ovechkin, though, tied the game at the 7:50 mark of the middle period when he skated with the puck from the right point to the slot and snapped home a wrister for his 26th goal of the season.
The Caps then took a 2-1 lead just 1:46 later as a shot from the left point by Hillen popped into the air and Fehr was able to get a stick on it and past Price for his seventh of the season.
It was a 3-1 game 5:33 into the final frame as a slap shot from the left point by Hillen sailed past Price.
The Canadiens got one back with 3:22 to play when a Nathan Beaulieu shot from the left point was tipped in by Eller, but the Habs were unable to net the equalizer in the time that remained.
Ovechkin is tied with Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos for the NHL lead in goals ... Washington will host Carolina on Thursday ... Montreal plays in Buffalo on Thursday ... Montreal had taken a 4-1 win in Washington on Jan. 24 and these teams will play one more game in Montreal on April 20 ... Both sides went 0- for-1 on the power play.