Mantha’s two goals in 34 seconds sparks Caps in Montreal originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Anthony Mantha needed less than a minute to give his friends and family in attendance at Bell Centre the show they came for.
Born and raised just outside of Montreal, Mantha scored twice in the second period in a span of just 34 seconds to give the Capitals a lead they wouldn’t give up in a wild 8-4 victory over the Canadiens.
Mantha’s two goals broke an eight-game goalless streak for the winger, as his four-point night was the highlight of an eventful 75th game of the season.
“It’s awesome,” Mantha said postgame. “I would say about 30 people were here tonight. A lot of people were excited to come see me play. It was good to see family and friends yesterday. Just happy to put a performance for them tonight.”
His first goal of the night was set up by a nice passing play from Lars Eller, who sprung a streaking Mantha down the wing. He got the puck past Montreal goalie Sam Montembeault, just barely, to give the Capitals a 2-1 lead.
Just seconds later, Eller found him once and sent Mantha in on a breakaway. He converted, and the Capitals had a two-goal lead just like that.
“A lot of open ice,” Mantha said of his goals, which came during four-on-four play. “Obviously there’s plays to be made and on both of my goals, Lars just took the puck and battled to get the puck to me. Gave me basically two breakaways.”
Mantha now has nine goals and 12 assists in 30 games played for the Capitals this season. With him in the lineup, the team is 19-6-5 this season.
The Capitals have been looking for the right line combinations over the last few weeks, and it appears they may have found something with Mantha and Eller together. Since April began, the two have skated in seven games together at five-on-five and have outshot their opponents 22-13 when on the ice together.
That pairing has proved vital in recent games, as has Mantha’s return, as the Capitals got another reminder Saturday night of what they missed while Mantha was on the shelf with a shoulder injury.
“It was a really tough injury,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “A lot of rehab. Sometimes when you go into those long injuries with rehab, there’s no light at the end of the window. You start to see him get back on the ice, and it’s really good having him back because of size, because of the way he can be physical, his skill level and the way he can contribute to our team and help our team when he’s on his game.”