Ryder scores twice, has assist

MONTREAL (AP) -- Michael Ryder and the Montreal Canadiens finally
put a pair of wins together.

Ryder scored twice and assisted on Sheldon Souray's 13th goal of
the season, and Montreal beat the Washington Capitals 4-1 Sunday
for their first winning streak in more than two months.

Joe Juneau also scored and Jose Theodore made 19 saves for the
Canadiens, who hadn't won consecutive games in 12 previous tries
since Oct. 20-23.

"It's a big weight off our shoulders, especially when people
are talking about how this team can't win back-to-back games,"
Ryder said. "Now that we've done it, it's a big accomplishment and
hopefully we can put some more wins together."

Ryder opened the scoring in the first period with a shot inside
the left post as he moved to the slot, then beat goalie Maxime
Ouellet with an almost identical shot for his ninth of the season --
an unassisted goal midway through the third.

The three points moved Ryder one point ahead of the New York
Islanders' Trent Hunter for the rookie scoring lead with 26.

"He's playing some good hockey," said Canadiens captain Saku
Koivu, who won the faceoff that led to Ryder's first goal. "It's
fun to see. He's scoring the goals and getting the points."

Montreal, which beat Atlanta 5-1 on Saturday, extended its
unbeaten streak to four games (3-0-1). The Canadiens have earned a
point in nine of their last 11 (6-2-2-1), moving four games over
.500 for the first time this season at 19-15-5-2.

"Even though we haven't won consecutive games, we've played a
lot more consistently and we haven't lost too many games," Koivu
said. "I think we can improve a lot of things, and by winning two
in a row here at home, it's a good start and it's something to
build on."

Joel Kwiatkowski scored for Washington, which failed in its
sixth attempt for the 1,000th regular-season win in team history.
The Capitals, who lost 5-2 in Ottawa the night before, fell to
0-5-1 since a 3-2 win over Montreal on Dec. 23 brought them within
one win of the milestone.

"I honestly wasn't even aware of that," Capitals defenseman
Jason Doig said. "That's not even an objective or an issue for us.
We're a struggling hockey team and we're just trying to concentrate
on getting our systems down."

Souray, who had never scored more than three goals before this
season, put the Canadiens up 2-1 with a power-play goal at 13:31 of
the second period, just moments after making a great play to keep
the puck in Washington's zone.

Ryder, Souray and center Mike Ribeiro cycled the puck along the
left boards after the Montreal defenseman lunged to prevent the
puck from crossing the blue line. Ryder passed from the left corner
back to the point, where Souray drove a slap shot past Ouellet.

Trailing 1-0 after Ryder's goal off a faceoff 12:32 in,
Washington tied it just as a penalty to Souray expired at 16:07 on
Kwiatkowski's slap shot from the point.

Souray's goal put Montreal up 2-1 and Juneau scored for the
second straight game with a short-handed effort 2:51 into the third
to increase the Canadiens' lead to two.

Game notes
Ouellet made 30 saves, falling to 1-1-2 in four starts. ...
The Canadiens have won four straight at home, outscoring their
opponents 18-7.