The victory was Washington's eighth in 10 games at the Capital Centre and the second in a row over the Canadiens, whom the Capitals beat earlier, 4-2, in Montreal. Washington is 6-0 against TC the Adams Division; they were 3-11-1 against Adams teams last season.
The victory was the 18th in 24 games for the Capitals and enabled them to regain the best record in the NHL and to tie Montreal for the most points, 36. Washington also raised its goal total to 117, the best in the NHL.
Mike Ridley, on a power play, Kelly Miller and Todd Krygier scored for Washington. Miller's was the game-winning goal and Krygier scored on the rebound of a Miller shot with 57 seconds remaining to provide some insurance.
Kirk Muller scored Montreal's goal.
Ridley's power-play goal at 5:20 of the first period gave the Capitals, who lead the NHL in power-play efficiency, a 1-0 lead. Ridley, scoring his 11th goal of the season, took a pass from Peter Bondra off the right boards and from the right circle ripped the puck through goalie Patrick Roy's pads.
The Canadiens tied the score with 1:38 remaining in the first period. Muller steamed down the ice and made a move on Beaupre near the left circle. When Beaupre went to the ice, Muller backhanded the puck into the net for his 14th goal of the season.
The Capitals regained the lead on Miller's second goal of the season at 7:08 of the second period, 2-1. Al Iafrate made the play by bursting in from the right boards on Roy, who made the stop on Iafrate's shot but was sent sprawling. The puck came free and Krygier batted it into the cage.
Referee Andy van Hellemond called the goal good, but when the Canadiens disputed the goal, the play was reviewed on television. Replay official Matt Dunne upheld van Hellemond.
NOTES: The Capitals, who have played the fewest home games in the NHL (10), will face the Islanders at the Capital Centre tomorrow night and then go on the road for four games. . . . The Caps' game with the Flyers, Dec. 22 in the Spectrum, has been switched from 7:05 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The game will be carried on television (Channel 20), but there will be no radio broadcast. . . . There was a moment of silence before last night's game in remembrance of Bob Johnson, former head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who died Tuesday from brain cancer. . . . Washington leads the NHL in penalty-killing at home with 91 percent and in power-play efficiency with 94 percent and has scored a power play in 14 consecutive games.
Montreal 1 0 0 -- 1
Washington 1 1 1 -- 3
First period--1, Washington, Ridley 11 (Bondra, Ciccarelli), 5:20 (pp). 2, Montreal, Muller 14 (Savard, Corson), 18:22. Penalties--Ewen, Mon (roughing), 4:01; May, Was (roughing), 4:01; Schneider, Mon (high-sticking), 5:06; Burridge, Was (hooking), 12:20; Brunet, Mon, double minor (high-sticking, slashing), 20:00; Keane, Mon (roughing), 20:00, Daigneault, Mon, double minor (roughing, high-sticking), 20:00; Iafrate, Was, triple minor (double slashing, roughing), 20:00; Burridge, Was, double minor (roughing, high-sticking), 20:00.
Second period--3, Washington, Miller 2 (Iafrate, Ridley), 7:08. Penalties--Keane, Mon (roughing), 5:54; Ciccarelli, Was (roughing), 5:54; McPhee, Mon (holding), 9:24.
Third period--4, Washington, Krygier (Miller, Ridley), 19:04. Penalties--Bergland, Was (hooking), 7:30; Keane, Mon (roughing), 9:18; Pivonka, Was (roughing), 9:18; Corson, Mon, double minor (slashing, roughing), 12:41; Muller, Mon (roughing), 12:41; Iafrate, Was (roughing), 12:41; Burridge, Was, double minor (high-sticking, roughing), 12:41.
Shots on goal--Montreal 10-6-11--27. Washington 8-10-10--28. Power-play opportunities--Montreal 0 of 2; Washington 1 of 2. Goalies--Montreal, Roy, 13-6-2 (28 shots-25 saves). Washington, Beaupre, 6-3-0 (27-26). A--18,130. Referee--Andy vanHellemond. Linesmen--Ray Scapinello, Brian Murphy.