The Washington Capitals are poised to learn and move on from their worst defeat of the season.
After being shut down by one of their biggest rivals, the Capitals hope to bounce back with a third straight victory over the visiting Montreal Canadiens on Friday night.
In the midst of a 7-1-1 stretch, Washington (12-9-1) totaled 12 goals during a three-game winning streak that ended with Wednesday's 4-0 home loss to rival Pittsburgh. The Capitals were held to a season-low 18 shots, shut out for the first time in a month and outmatched by the Penguins in just about every aspect of the game.
"We always (learn from a game) no matter what, win or lose, we always do that," coach Adam Oates said. "It'll be a little harder because it was a game you were looking forward to - a team that you want to beat. There's lots of ways to lose games, and that's not really one way you want to do it."
Washington fell behind 2-0 during a first period in which they were outshot 17-6. The Penguins finished with 40 shots.
"It wasn't our best effort, but through the course of the season there are going to be games like that," center Brooks Laich said. "But you have to stick together. That's the main thing.
"We are never satisfied. You hope that you are never playing as good as you can because that means that you are never going to improve anymore."
The Capitals hope to improve a power play that's 1 for 18 in the last five games, a stretch prior to which they were converting a league-best 28.2 percent of their chances. Meanwhile, their last three opponents are 4 for 13 with the man advantage after the first 19 went 8 for 74 (10.8 percent).
Star Alex Ovechkin had his goal streak end at three games when he recorded a season-low two shots against the Penguins. Washington has won nine in a row when he scores.
Ovechkin has three goals with an assist in the last two meetings versus Montreal (11-9-2) - both on the road in April.
Though the Capitals have won eight of nine in the series, the Canadiens have earned three points in their last two trips to Washington. Montreal won 4-1 in their only visit to the nation's capital last season, the only time it has scored more than two goals in the past 12 meetings.
The Canadiens look to build on their most productive offensive game of the season after Max Pacioretty recorded a natural hat trick in Tuesday's 6-2 victory over Minnesota. They had lost seven of the previous 11 while totaling 19 goals.
Montreal's leader in points the past two seasons, Pacioretty snapped an eight-game goal drought to run his point total to seven through 13 games. He missed nine games due to injury.
"There's a lot of things probably being said about me out there," Pacioretty said of his offensive struggles. "That's how it is in this business when you're not performing. Everyone goes through it, but it felt good (Wednesday)."
He has four points in his last four games versus the Capitals but has no goals in eight career visits to Washington.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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