Ovechkin scores pair of goals as Caps take 3-1 lead over Habs

MONTREAL -- Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals, and maybe even Montreal's inability to score more goals in a dominant second period, drove Canadiens goalie Carey Price to a couple of piques of frustration.

Ovechkin scored his second goal of the game with 8:51 left, sending Washington to a 6-3 victory Wednesday night and a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference series.

Ovechkin opened the scoring at 8:10 of the first period with the Capitals' first power-play goal of the series. Mike Knuble tied it at 2 with Washington's second short-handed goal in two games with 6.3 seconds left in the second.

Boyd Gordon, who returned to the lineup to score a key short-handed goal in Game 3 after being a healthy scratch, set up Knuble on a 2-on-1 to draw the Capitals even despite being outshot 33-18 to that point.

"I think it was a pretty big goal," Ovechkin said. "Again, we played great short-handed, and Gordo, what can I say about him? He's a hard-working guy, and when he makes a play like this, it means a lot for our team."

Ovechkin added his second of the game and fourth in three games when he cut past defenseman Hal Gill and put Washington up 3-2 with a shot past Price from the slot.

"When you give him time and he's that close to the net, he knows what to do," Price said. "That's why he scores 50 goals every year."

Jason Chimera made it 4-2 52 seconds later.

The Capitals got empty-net goals from Knuble with 2:27 left and Nicklas Backstrom with 10.1 seconds remaining.

"One power-play goal and you're up 3-1 in the series -- it doesn't usually work out like that," Knuble said.

Semyon Varlamov made 36 saves to win his third in a row for Washington, which regained home-ice advantage in the quarterfinal series with a 5-1 victory in Game 3 on Monday night.

"He was great. He was fabulous tonight," Knuble said. "He was the difference."

Price stopped 32 shots in his first start of the series for Montreal. Price, who replaced Jaroslav Halak in the second period Monday, was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct following Chimera's goal. The Canadiens goalie fired a puck toward the Capitals players celebrating along the boards on the right side, striking defenseman Jeff Schultz in the backside.

"It was frustration," Price said. "It's not a good move, but let 'em know that you're there. I didn't mean to actually hit him but it's over."

Price drew another unsportsmanlike conduct minor following Backstrom's goal.

Michael Cammalleri, Brian Gionta and Dominic Moore scored for Montreal, which outshot Washington 21-9 in the second after holding a 12-9 edge in the first.

Game 5 is Friday night in Washington.

"We can go there and upset them," Gill said. "We did it before and we should have done it again. We've got to go and bring our game, and bring it for 60 [minutes]."

The Capitals fell to 0-for-15 with the man advantage in the series when they failed to score during their first opportunity after Tomas Plekanec was sent off for interference 48 seconds in.

Ovechkin brought the power-play skid to an end when he drove a shot past Price to extend his goal streak to three games and put Washington up 1-0.

Cammalleri drew Montreal even 1:12 later with his second goal. Cammalleri put a backhand of a rebound of Glen Metropolit's shot in at 9:12 after the Montreal center came out from behind the net and tried to tuck his own backhand past Varlamov.

Gionta drew a roar from the capacity crowd of 21,273 when he scored a power-play goal from the left edge of the crease 15:42 into the second to put Montreal up 2-1.

Knuble silenced the crowd when he put Boyd Gordon's pass beyond Price with 6.3 seconds left in the second.

"It was a big boost for us to go in tied 2-2 instead of down one and just kind of reset ourselves," Knuble said. "We were getting too many penalties there in the second and getting really on our heels with their power play. It just kind of game us time and a shot in the arm to refocus for a strong third."

Game notes
The 21 shots allowed by the Capitals in the second period matched a team playoff record for shots by an opponent in a period set by Philadelphia on April 21, 2008. ... Canadiens D Jaroslav Spacek missed the game because of an unspecified injury. Ryan O'Byrne took his spot in the lineup.