Sounds like someone should send that blueprint to the Capitals, who have been outscored 14-6 through three games, with seven of the opponents' goals coming on power plays.
Joey Crabb scored with 2:23 to play for the Capitals, and two-time NHL MVP Alex Ovechkin remains without a goal on the season. Oates shook things up by putting Wojtek Wolski on the first line with Ovechkin, and the two ran into each other in the offensive zone in the first period.
Ovechkin has been playing right wing consistently for the first time in his career, but he was switched back to left wing in the third period.
Asked to identify the team's biggest problem, Ovechkin said: "Just mentality."
"There are no excuses right now. ... We look embarrassing," he said.
Michal Neuvirth made his first start of the season in net, but he had a realistic chance to stop only one of Montreal's goals.
Washington ended a six-game winning streak against Montreal and lost in regulation to the Canadiens for the first time since Nov. 20, 2009.
"It's seems the chemistry isn't there," Washington center Jay Beagle said. "The coach is throwing different lines together and just trying to get something going."
Markov supplied the assist on the game's first goal, sliding the puck to Plekanec during a two-man advantage while Ovechkin and Brouwer were in the penalty box.
It was 2-0 after Markov put in an easy rebound during a power play just 63 seconds later.
The third goal came after a classic defensive lapse. Three Capitals chased the puck into the corner, leaving Gionta alone to receive a pass from Rene Bourque.
The Capitals were so deflated that Gorges' goal late in the second period hardly mattered.
"We've got a lot of skill on this team, and that's something that you can't control on a lot of teams," Crabb said. "But what you can control is your work ethic, and how hard you play."
Notes: The 1993-94 Capitals team opened with six straight losses. ... Matt Hendricks, who got into a fight in Washington's previous game to try to give his team a boost, was at in again Thursday, tussling with Brandon Prust in the third period.
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