Canadiens beat Capitals 4-1, force Game 7

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MONTREAL (AP) — Jaroslav Halak made 53 saves, and Michael Cammalleri scored twice in the first period for the eighth-seeded Montreal Canadiens, who stayed alive with a 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Monday night and forced a Game 7 in the first-round series.

Halak made 18 saves in the first, 14 in the second, and 21 in the third. He came within 4:50 of his first playoff shutout. Halak, who stopped 37 shots in Friday’s 2-1 victory in Washington, won his second straight start despite the top-seeded Capitals’ 54-22 advantage in shots.

Cammalleri, who opened the scoring in Game 5, put the Canadiens up 1-0 with a power-play goal 7:30 in. He added his second of the game — fifth of the series — at 9:09 to increase the lead to 2-0.

Game 7 is Wednesday night at Washington.

Maxim Lapierre drove a slap shot past Semyon Varlamov from the right side for Montreal’s third goal 3:17 into the third.

Eric Fehr scored his third goal at 15:10 on Washington’s 52nd shot to spoil Halak’s shutout bid. It wasn’t enough for the Capitals, who had led the series 3-1.

Tomas Plekanec scored into an empty net with 56.5 seconds remaining, bringing a standing ovation from the crowd. The fans stayed on their feet through the final siren. Their cheers reached a peak when Halak was announced as the game’s first star.

The Capitals, who posted the NHL’s best record this season, were 0 for 6 on the power play. Washington, which led the league with a 25.2 success rate during the regular season, fell to 1 for 30 with the man advantage in the series.

Varlamov stopped 18 shots in his fourth straight start after he replaced Jose Theodore early in Game 2.

Cammalleri beat Varlamov with a wrist shot from the right circle when the puck came to him after Canadiens defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron’s shot from the point struck Boyd Gordon’s stick.

P.K. Subban, called up from Hamilton of the AHL earlier Monday, made his playoff debut for Montreal and earned an assist on Cammalleri’s second goal.

Tomas Plekanec beat Washington’s Boyd Gordon on a faceoff in the Capitals’ zone and drew the puck back to Subban. The rookie defenseman fed a pass to Cammalleri, who snapped a shot from the right side past Varlamov.

After outshooting Montreal 18-10 in the first, Washington dominated the second with a 15-3 edge.

The Capitals failed to record a shot during a 5-on-3 advantage that lasted 1 minute, 14 seconds in the first.

NOTES: Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau made two lineup changes from Game 5, inserting C David Steckel and D Shaone Morrisonn to replace C Brendan Morrison and D Tyler Sloan. … Subban, drafted 43rd overall by Montreal in 2007, had two assists in two regular-season games with the Canadiens.