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Canadiens goalie Carey Price dives in vain for the overtime goal of Washington’s Mike Green, bottom right.
Christinne Muschi, Reuters
On the day last January that Canada was winning its third consecutive world junior hockey championship, goaltender Carey Price was on his way to victory and being named the tournament’s most valuable player.
Chances are Price wouldn’t necessarily have minded being in the Czech Republic today, wearing a Team Canada sweater as his country again won gold.
The Canadiens, with the 20-year-old rookie in their Bell Centre net, dropped a 5-4 decision in overtime to the Washington Capitals this afternoon, defenceman Mike Green taking advantage of confusion in the Montreal zone to whip home the winner at 1:27.
There are less lively see-saws in the playground than this game, a wholly entertaining matinée that typically had more than its share of young fans in the seats. Montreal was up by two, down by one, tied, down by one and tied before losing in OT.
The Canadiens had regulation-time goals, in order, from Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Kostitsyn, Roman Hamrlik and Alex Kovalev. Washington superstar Alex Ovechkin scored two for the visitors, with singles going to Niklas Backstrom and Boyd Gordon.
The Capitals outshot the Canadiens 27-26 in regulation and 2-1 in overtime.
The Habs came into the game with a 20-13-7 record overall, and working to improve on their 7-7-4 record at home, an inexplicable weakness given a raucous Bell Centre that’s been sold out every regular-season and playoff game since the end of the lockout.
Montreal began the 2008 calendar year on Thursday with a 6-3 home-ice victory over the lowly Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Habs failed in its bid to win its fourth consecutive over the Capitals, who arrived with a 16-20-6 record.
The Canadiens return to Bell Centre action on Tuesday, closing out a three-game homestand when the Chicago Blackhawks are the visitors.