Habs explode in 2nd, beat Caps 4-1
Andrei Markov is not only back, he seems to be determined to make up for lost time.
Scoring for the 2nd straight game, the injury-plagued Habs defenseman scored his 3rd goal of the season and also set up Tomas Plekanec for a goal in Washington.
Markov leads all NHL defenseman in goal-scoring after hitting the back of the net only once in 6 points over the last 2 seasons due to a series of crippling injuries. Now he's on a pace for 48 goals this season.
Plekanec opened the scoring for the 2nd straight game, and Brian Gionta scored his 2nd in 3 games as the Habs played their first game away from the Bell Centre. The scoring burst came in a span of less than 5 minutes early in the 2nd.
Late in the 2nd, Josh Gorges scored his first goal of the season on a slapshot from the point ending a drought of more than a full calendar year.
The Canadiens improved to 2-1 to start a season for the first time since Oct. 2009.
Rookie Alex Galchenyuk had one good scoring chance in the opening period but saw his icetime reduced. In the first 40 minutes, the 18-year old had only 1 shot on goal, 0 hits and 6:45 TOI. The youngest player to score for the Habs since Petr Svoboda almost 30 years ago struggled at the faceoff dots as well, winning only 29% in the opening 40 minutes (pushing that up to 40% by game end).
Raphael Diaz continued his smooth work, picking up an assist on the captain's goal.
Max Pacioretty helped out with 2 assists; Rene Bourque also earned a point.
Once again, Markov carried the load at both ends of the ice, leading all Canadiens in icetime in the ongoing absence of PK Subban.
Joey Crabb broke Carey Price's shutout bid with less than 2:30 remaining in the 3rd, by which time most Caps fans had already left the building.
The Canadiens welcome Martin Brodeur and the Devils to Montreal Sunday evening.