WASHINGTON (NHL.com) - The Washington Capitals rebounded from an uninspiring start against the Montreal Canadiens on Friday to tie the game with less than six minutes remaining in regulation and win it 3-2 in the shootout, ending their four-game losing streak.
Eric Fehr and Mikhail Grabovski each had a goal and an assist, and Braden Holtby, who unexpectedly started the game after Michal Neuvirth left pregame warm-ups with a lower-body injury, made 35 saves.
The Canadiens' four-game winning streak was snapped in the loss.
Daniel Briere opened the scoring at 15:20 of the first period as he and Brian Gionta worked below the goal line. Gionta pushed the puck to Briere, who wrapped around the net and pushed the puck past Holtby.
Despite 3:47 of consecutive power-play time prior to Briere's goal, the Capitals were held without a shot on goal for the final 15:40 of the period.
Washington got off to a more spirited start in the second period, tying the game at 1-1 at 5:17 when Canadiens goalie Peter Budaj mishandled the puck behind the goal, allowing Grabovski to corral it and feed a wide-open Fehr in front for his third goal of the season.
Montreal regained the lead 67 seconds later. On a 3-on-1 rush, Tomas Plekanec was the beneficiary of a bouncing puck that was originally tipped by Washington defenseman Nate Schmidt's outstretched stick before ricocheting off John Carlson and back to Plekanec.
It was the third goal in two games the Capitals have allowed within 80 seconds of scoring themselves.
With 5:32 remaining in regulation, Grabovski tied the game when Fehr repaid the favor from his earlier goal. Shortly after having his backhand attempt stopped by Budaj, Fehr was able to chip a bouncing puck toward Grabovski, who settled it and beat Budaj between his legs for his eighth goal.
Grabovski then scored the deciding shootout goal to seal the victory.
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