NHL Game Summary - Washington at Montreal
(Thursday, March 30th)
Final Score: Montreal 3, Washington 2 (OT)
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Saku Koivu scored the game winner in overtime as Montreal downed Washington, 3-2, at the Bell Centre.
Chris Higgins scored a pair of goals and Koivu and Sheldon Souray notched an assist apiece for the Canadiens, who have won their fifth-straight game. Cristobal Huet made 27 saves in the win.
Montreal has 83 points, but due to having two less wins than Tampa Bay and trailing in the head-to-head matchup with New Jersey, occupies the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Ben Clymer and Jeff Halpern scored for the Capitals, who had a two-game winning streak snapped. Alexander Ovechkin added a pair of assists and Olaf Kolzig stopped 30 shots in the loss.
"We knew they would come hard with a lot on the line," Kolzig said. "With us playing last night, we came out a little sluggish and took too many penalties. Obviously, they were buzzing but we survived it, and got better and better. In the third period, we had a heck of a period but I gift-wrapped their second goal, then we tied it up."
Halpern tied the game up in the closing seconds of the third period to force the overtime session.
Koivu scored the game winner on a breakaway backhand glove side just inside the right post to win the game, however, with 57.3 seconds left in overtime.
Souray gave a hard snap pass to Higgins, who scored on a wrister from the front edge of the left circle at the 11:29 mark of the second period to draw first blood for Montreal.
Higgins had not scored in 23 games.
"I got this goal off my back, and I got two goals as well," Higgins said. "Those guys have to be proud of themselves, how they battled. They came hard after a win last night.
Clymer scored on a follow-up snap backhander from the left circle, after Ovechkin missed from the right circle, to tie the game at one at the 18:37 mark of the second period.
Higgins scored his second goal, unassisted on the power play with 11:37 left in the third period, on a rebound just beyond the crease moments after a face off.
"We forced the play very well, but we had lots of penalties and we scored a goal with two seconds left," Ovechkin said. "But tonight, Montreal had the luck. Olaf is one of the beat goalies in the game, but especially in the first period when Montreal outshot us. Unfortunately, they scored the second goal on a power play."
Diving in front of the crease, Halpern scored on the power-play with a backhander to the glove side with 2.5 seconds left to tie the game and send it into the overtime period.
The Canadiens are seeking their first set of back-to-back playoff appearances since 1997-98.
Montreal will begin a two-game home set against Boston on Saturday. The teams will face off again three days later.
The Capitals will visit Ottawa on Saturday, with Ovechkin still two shy of reaching the 50-goal plateau. Only three rookies in NHL history have tallied 50 goals or more -- Teemu Selanne (76), Mike Bossy (53) and Joe Nieuwendyk (51).
Washington and Montreal have now split four games this season, as the Canadiens posted a 4-2 win in Washington on March 20. The Canadiens have won five of the last eight meetings overall.
03/30 23:37:11 ET