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Canadiens drop Caps to 0-3 for 1st time since '93


Canadiens drop Caps to 0-3 for 1st time since '93

WASHINGTON (AP) Andrei Markov's resurgence continued with a goal and an assist, and the Montreal Canadiens cruised to a 4-1 win Thursday night over the Washington Capitals, who are 0-3 for the first time in nearly two decades.

Finally healthy after twice tearing the ACL in his right knee, Markov was part of a second-period spree in which the Canadiens scored in all sorts of ways against a Capitals team that is out of sorts. In order, Montreal's goals came 5-on-3, 5-on-4 and 5-on-5 in a little over 6 minutes to take a 3-0 lead.

Tomas Plekanec, Brian Gionta and Josh Gorges scored for the Canadiens, and Carey Price made 30 saves. Montreal, the worst team in the Eastern Conference a year ago, has won two straight under new coach Michel Therrien since opening the season with a loss to Toronto.

The Capitals also have a new coach teaching a new system, and he is having a much harder time getting his players in gear after a compressed training camp in the lockout-shortened season. Adam Oates' team has been outscored 14-6 through three games, with seven of the opponents' goals coming on power plays.

Joey Crabb's goal with 2:23 to play was the lone goal for the Capitals, and two-time NHL MVP Alex Ovechkin remains without a goal on the season. Oates shook things up by putting Wojtek Wolski on the first line with Ovechkin, and the two ran into each other in the offensive zone in the first period. Michal Neuvirth made his first start of the season in net, but he had a realistic chance to stop only one of the four Montreal goals.

The result was frequent booing throughout the game for the Capitals, who are 0-3 for the first time since dropping six straight to start the 1993-94 season.

Washington also ended a six-game winning streak against Montreal and lost in regulation to the Canadiens for the first time since Nov. 20, 2009.

Markov has three goals on the season, helping to mitigate the absence of Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, who is a restricted free agent and has yet to come to terms on a new contract.

Markov supplied the assist on the game's first goal, sliding the puck to Plekanec during a two-man advantage while Ovechkin and Troy Brouwer were in the penalty box.

Markov put in an easy rebound to make it 2-0 during a power play just 63 seconds later.

The third goal came after a classic defensive lapse. Three Capitals chased the puck into the corner, leaving Gionta alone in front of the net to receive a pass from Rene Bourque.

Josh Gorges made it a four-goal lead late in the second period.

Notes: Washington hasn't been shut out by Montreal since 2008, but the Capitals have shut out Montreal five times during that span. ... Matt Hendricks, who got into a fight in Washington's previous game to try to give his team a boost, was at in again Thursday, tussling with Montreal's Brandon Prust in the third period.


Follow Joseph White on Twitter:http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP

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Capitals daily quote: 'You can't be half in'

Capitals daily quote: 'You can't be half in'

The Capitals have a lot to lament after Wednesday’s 4-1 defeat in Edmonton. They’re still not scoring. The special teams are still struggling. And the second periods, well, they haven’t been great.

But it has also become clear what’s irking Coach Barry Trotz the most. And it’s not poor execution.  

“We've got the right elements to do what we can do. But there has to be a level of everybody [being] all in. You can’t be half in. I know there’s a lot of games in the regular season. But there’s a lot good teams, and we saw a good one tonight in the Edmonton Oilers. They played very well. You can’t let your foot off the gas in this league or you find yourself in a hole sometimes.”

It’s not hard to decipher what Trotz is getting at. He wants better focus and commitment from certain individuals as the team heads to Vancouver for a Saturday night meeting with the Canucks.

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Who's hot and who's not: Ice cold special teams mask good starts from Ovechkin, Sanford

Who's hot and who's not: Ice cold special teams mask good starts from Ovechkin, Sanford

Once a week this season, we’re going to take a closer look at the numbers and point out a trends that every Capital fan should know about.  


Alex Ovechkin

By his own admission, the Capitals’ captain hasn’t been perfect. But he’s doing something no one else has managed: he’s scoring consistently. In fact, Ovechkin has tallied in four consecutive contests after going pointless in the first two. It’s Ovi’s longest goal streak since Feb. 7-13 of last season (also four games).    

Zach Sanford

The rookie is still looking for his first goal. But he’s been dangerous around the next in each of the Capitals’ last two games. The Oilers' Cam Talbot absolutely robbed Sanford with a splendid pad save midway through the second period on Wednesday. Hunch here is that he’ll get one sooner rather than later.

Blue line point production

The Capitals’ offensive punch (or lack thereof) has been a storyline through the first six games. In fact, they have mustered only 14 goals, which is tied for 26th entering Thursday’s games. There’s plenty of blame to go around, but this much is also clear: the defensemen are doing more than their fair share. All six of them have recorded at least one assist, and Matt Niskanen has a team-leading four helpers after picking up the primary on Ovi’s goal Wednesday night.



Power play

A top-five unit a year ago, the Capitals’ power play has fallen on hard times so far this season. In fact, it’s all the way down in 28th, having connected on just two of 19 opportunities. The two goals, by the way, came against a tired Avalanche team. The unit has gone 0 for 6 since.

Penalty kill

This was a top-two unit a year ago, and it’s now scuffling (statistically, at least) as much as the power play. It’s given up a goal in five of the first six games, including one in Edmonton, and is burried in 25th place (72.2-percent). Coach Barry Trotz pointed out Wednesday night that it’s a small sample size, but he also noted that the unit can do a better job of blocking shots, filling lanes and coming up with critical saves at big moments.

Tom Wilson

The fourth liner is the only Capital who’s suited up for all six games but is still looking for his first point. Sanford and Brett Connolly also have goose eggs, but they’ve played in four and two games, respectively. It’s time for Wilson to get on the board.