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NHL Game Summary - Washington at Montreal

(Tuesday, February 20th)

Final Score: Montreal 5, Washington 3

Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Chris Higgins and Michael Ryder netted two goals each to guide the Montreal Canadiens past the Washington Capitals, 5-3, at the Bell Centre.

Garth Murray added an empty-net goal in the closing seconds and Jaroslav Halak picked up his second win in as many career starts in net by turning away 15 shots for the Canadiens, who have now won two in a row since losing six straight. This is the first time in a month that the Canadiens have posted back-to-back wins.

Jamie Heward finished with a goal and two assists while Brent Johnson came up with 27 saves for Washington, which has dropped four straight.

Montreal stormed out of the gates to assume a 3-0 advantage after 20 minutes of play.

All three were power-play markers, including Higgins' goal from the right side of the net 7:33 into the contest to open the scoring. Ryder made it a two- goal game with 5:12 left in the first, as his one-timer navigated through traffic in front before beating Johnson.

"I've had my chances in other games, and tonight, my shots went in," Ryder said.

Less than a minute later, Higgins redirected a Saku Koivu feed in front to finish the surge.

"We had lots of penalties in the first period, but our line was on the bench," said Washington's Alexander Ovechkin. "It's hard to go to the net when you're sitting on the bench."

Washington, though, opened the second frame with a pair of goals to cut the deficit to one. The first came at the 2:06 mark on a hard slap shot from Heward that deflected off Brian Sutherby and in. Heward then made it 3-2 with another slapper 30 ticks later, this one caroming off a Montreal player before slipping into the back of the net.

The Capitals were in good position to tie the game after Montreal was whistled for a double-minor with 4:27 left in the second period. Ryder, though, broke out on a short-handed charge, split a pair of defenders and then fired a snap shot past Johnson to build a 4-2 edge.

Alexander Semin again made it a one-goal game with only 34 seconds left in the second with a pretty flip shot over the shoulder of Halak.

Halak and company, however, pitched a shutout from there and Murray punched in an empty-net tally in the final minute to seal the win.

Game Notes

Murray hadn't scored in his last 43 games...Halak made 31 saves in his NHL debut Sunday to guide Montreal to a 3-2 win in Columbus. He was called into action after Cristobal Huet suffered a hamstring tear in Montreal's 5-2 loss at New Jersey on Wednesday. Huet had surgery to repair the tear on Sunday and will be out indefinitely...This marked the end of a three-game road trip for Washington, which is just 9-16-5 away from D.C. this year and has lost seven straight and 13 of its last 14 as the visitor.

02/20 23:04:46 ET

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