MONTREAL (AP) — Alex Ovechkin was back — and so were the Washington Capitals' winning ways.
Ovechkin returned from an injury that sidelined him two games to start a four-goal second period as the Capitals ended a seven-game winless slump with a 5-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.
"It's a big win, a good win for the boys," Ovechkin said. "It brings some confidence back.
John Erskine, Jay Beagle and John Carlson also scored in the middle period as the Capitals, who had scored only three goals in their four previous games, dominated the first half of the game and then shut Montreal down.
"This building is an exciting place," Ovechkin said. "It's good."
The Canadiens have lost four in a row and five of six, and their dressing room remained closed to the media for a long time after the game. When it opened, every player was at his stall.
"It's embarrassing to be at home and play the way we did," defenseman Josh Gorges said. "We have nobody to blame except ourselves and we have to be a lot more resilient moving forward."
Casey Wellman, recalled Saturday from AHL Hershey, got his first goal of the season on a feed from Ovechkin on a 2-on-1 counterattack 8:38 into the third period.
Washington's Braden Holtby improved his record against Montreal to 5-0-0 with four shutouts.
Washington had a 26-3 edge in shots before Carlson's goal at 10:31 of the middle period chased goalie Carey Price in favor of backup Peter Budaj.
The Canadiens' slump has some speculating about the status of coach Michel Therrien's job — although Gorges doesn't think a change is needed.
"I cannot see one guy that has lost faith in anyone in this organization," he said. "That's not who we are.
Collectively, we're just in a rut and we're finding ways to beat ourselves.
"Tonight, once we got down, mentally we didn't have that resiliency. But in no way, shape or form are we quitting on anybody."
Ovechkin was back in the lineup after being sidelined with a lower-body injury. He fed Troy Brouwer on a power play for a shot that was disallowed when video review found it entered the net a fraction of a second after the first period ended.