Canadiens drop to 5-14-2 on the season after a 6-3 loss to the Capitals in which they failed to overcome another slow start.

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Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme said the Canadiens had to do a better job of turning things around after they fell behind early in their 6-3 loss to the Washington Capitals Wednesday night at Capital One Arena.

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“Those two quick goals put us on our heels,” Ducharme said. “We can’t wait to get back to the room (to make adjustments). I talk to the players and they talks to themselves. We come (after the intermission) and we’re better, but we have do it within the game. We have to have those reactions after they score a goal, after a couple of shifts where the other team isn’t gaining momentum. We have to turn this around quicker.

“When you trail, it gets even worse, it kind of snowballs and we need to avoid that,” Ducharme added.

In fact, the Canadiens never turned things around in this game. They gave up two goals in the first 10 minutes and all that talk in the dressing room didn’t produce any results because Washington scored the first goal in each period and all of Montreal’s goals were scored in the final three minutes of a period.

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The Canadiens were hoping to carry some momentum into this game after beating the Nashville Predators 6-3 at home Saturday, but Jake Evans summed up the performance Wednesday by saying: “This wasn’t the same team.”

Evans and his linemates, Brendan Gallagher and Artturi Lehkonen, were the best players the Canadiens had going for them. Evans scored a goal and won nine of his 14 faceoffs. Gallagher played his usual hard-nosed game and set up two goals, while Lehkonen scored for the second consecutive game and added an assist. He has eight points in his last eight games.

But Evans and Gallagher both came away disappointed.

“We started this trip with a good mental disposition but we were dominated,” Gallagher said. “We can’t find excuses. We didn’t play well enough and we deserved what happened to us. ”

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Evans, who is being asked to fill Phil Danault’s role as a shutdown centre, wasn’t happy with the line’s defensive play.

“Our line is built to make life difficult for the opponent and we haven’t been that often this season, let alone in the first period tonight,” Evans said. “We weren’t intense enough in our battles for the puck. I always want to contribute offensively, but when I’m on the ice for three goals for the other team, I’m not happy with my performance.”

The Canadiens’ other goal was scored by Cole Caufield and it was his first in 13 NHL games this season.

“It was good to get that first goal,” said Caufield, who last experienced a goal drought like this one when he was in high school in 2016. “I liked my play tonight, but winning is way more important than my personal stats.”

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With the loss, the Canadiens dropped to 5-14-2 and while there are a few people delusional enough to think this team can contend for a playoff spot, the math says otherwise.

They fell nine points behind the fourth-place Detroit Red Wings, but more importantly, they are eight back of the fifth-place Bruins and Boston has five games in hand.

Jake Allen retuned to action after missing four games with a concussion and he gave up six goals on 34 shots, which doesn’t help his goals-against average or his save percentage. He didn’t get much help from his teammates and this was the ninth time in 21 games the Canadiens have given up five or more goals.

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