"There isn't too much room for error in a close game like this one," said Beaupre. "You have to try and keep the puck out of the net. We have been rather loose and free-wheeling in our last few games. Tonight, we played a solid defensive game. I did not get a lot of shots in the second period [six], but Montreal tested me pretty well in the remainder of the game. My defense did a splendid job."
Beaupre (6-3-0 with a 2.76 goals-against average), made 26 saves, and his counterpart, Patrick Roy (13-6-2), made 25 saves and kept the Canadiens in the game with several spectacular stops.
"Washington is the best team we've seen this year," said Roy. "They have five guys jumping into the play, and they really go to the net well. Also, their defense goes to the net more, and that opens up the offense for them."
Washington's second goal, by Kelly Miller, was disputed by the Canadiens, who believed that Al Iafrate, Capitals defenseman, interfered with Roy when he crashed into the crease. Roy stopped Iafrate's shot, but Miller knocked in the rebound for a 2-1 lead.
Referee Andy van Hellmond ruled it a goal, and television replay official Matt Dunne concurred.
"It's tough for the referee," said Roy. "The puck was in the crease and it's a tough call. When Iafrate hit me, he didn't try to move out of the crease. I never saw the puck go in the net."
Iafrate said: "I went hard to the net but got knocked down from behind. The rebound got past both of us [he and Roy], and Kelly and Todd [Krygier] were both there."
Said Capitals coach Terry Murray: "We had a lot of big efforts tonight. Beaupre was tremendous in the goal, and so was Roy. It was a good game, an exciting game from a coach's point of view. It was nice to bounce back like this after losing in Detroit [5-4] Monday."
The victory was the eighth in 10 games for Washington at the Capital Centre and the second in a row over the Canadiens, whom they beat, 4-2, in Montreal. Washington is 6-0 against Adams Division teams, a division they were 3-11-1 against 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.
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 van Hellemond. Linesmen--Ray Scapinello, Brian Murphy.