Thanks to terrific goaltending by Jaroslav Halak and a pair of early goals, the eighth-seeded Montreal Canadiens ensured that Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals still have work to do in the first round of the playoffs.
Halak made 37 saves in his return to the net, Michael Cammalleri and Travis Moen scored on two of Montreal’s first five shots, and the Canadiens beat the top-seeded Capitals, 2-1, in Game 5 last night at Washington to extend their Eastern Conference first-round series.
The Capitals could have closed it out at home, but they will take a 3-2 series lead into Game 6 at Montreal Monday.
In a key call, Canadiens coach Jacques Martin went back to Halak — benching Carey Price, who took over in goal during Game 3 and started Game 4.
The move worked against the high-flying, NHL-leading offense of the Capitals, limiting them to Ovechkin’s second-period goal and helping silence a standing-room crowd of 18,377 for stretches.
Also affecting the mood of the spectators: Cammalleri put Montreal ahead, 1-0, only 1 1/2 minutes into the game — and on its third shot — by scoring against goalie Semyon Varlamov off assists from Andrei Markov and Tomas Plekanec. It was Cammalleri’s third goal of the series.
And at 7:01, two shots later, it was 2-0 on Moen’s backhander off assists from Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez.
Ovechkin’s goal was his fifth of the series, all in the past four games, and he celebrated in his typically exuberant manner, throwing his arms out wide and nodding his head.
Canucks 7, Kings 2 — Mikael Samuelsson scored twice and added an assist, and Vancouver routed visiting Los Angeles to grab a 3-2 series lead.
Daniel Sedin and Samuelsson scored five minutes apart in the second period to chase goalie Jonathan Quick. Samuelsson added his playoff-leading seventh goal on a power play in the third to send backup Erik Ersberg back to the bench.
Steve Bernier had two goals, Alexander Edler and Pavol Demitra also scored, and Roberto Luongo made 24 saves for Vancouver.
Red Wings 4, Coyotes 1 — At Glendale, Ariz., Jimmy Howard turned in another outstanding performance, and Tomas Holmstrom and Pavel Datsyuk each had a goal and an assist as Detroit defeated Phoenix to take a 3-2 lead in the series.
Holmstrom and Datsyuk scored 1:09 apart midway through the third period to break a 1-all tie to help give the Red Wings their first series lead. Detroit is the first to win consecutive games.
Howard, coming off a shutout, finished with 30 saves, including two huge stops on Martin Hanzal with the score tied, 1-1. Henrik Zetterberg scored for the sixth time in the series and Drew Miller had a goal for Detroit.
Ed Jovanovski scored for Phoenix.