The Washington Capitals had to scramble a little bit in the first period of Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the raucus Bell Centre against the Montreal Canadiens.

Montreal outshot the Caps 10-7, with Semyon Varlamov making several outstanding saves early to keep his team in it.

The Caps weathered the early storm, came out and took control with four second period goals, and eventually cruised to a 5-1 victory, sending the Montreal fans home unhappy.

Coach Bruce Boudreau turned to Varlamov to start this game in place of Jose Theodore, who was lifted in Game Two after allowing goals on the first two shots he saw.  It was a risky call, sending a young goalie into probably the most hostile atmosphere for a road team in the league.

But Varlamov proved up to the task, making 26 saves and leading his squad through a rough first period, where the Canadiens really took the play to the President's Trophy winners.

Varlamov is now 3-0-0 with a 1.63 goals against average and a .940 save percentage at Bell Centre in his career.  Maybe poutine agrees with him.

The second period told a different story.

Boyd Gordon, who did not dress for Game Two, sparked the team, scoring a short-handed goal just 1:06 into the frame.  He and Mike Knuble broke in and had a couple stuff attempts on Jaroslav Halak, and Gordon eventually was able to get it past.

Brooks Laich tallied a few minutes later, taking a pass from Mike Green at the top of the RW circle, turning and snapping a quick shot through traffic for the 2-0 lead, taking some of the starch out of the Canadiens.

Eric Fehr would add to the tally, bouncing a shot off Halak, getting his own rebound and flicking it over Halak's catcing glove.  Fehr's second goal of the playoffs sent Halak to the bench.

Montreal coach Pierre Gauthier summoned Carey Price to stop the bleeding, but Price didn't have much more success than Halak.

Captials captain Alex Ovechkin scored the fourth goal of the frame, banging home a feed from his running mate Nicklas Backstrom.

Matt Bradley finished the scoring, jamming home a bouncing puck with less than a minute remaining for the clincher.

The Caps have an uncanny ability to score in bunches, and that was certainly in evidence in the second period.  They feed off each other, and they took control of a tight game with a destructive blitz against a team that confounded them in Game One of this series.

What's even better, is that in this game, it was mostly secondary scoring that did most of the damage.  Eric Fehr is stepping up in this series in a big way.  Brooks Laich got on the scoresheet for the first time in the series.  Fourth liners Gordon and Bradley chipped in.

And it was important that Mike Green finally registered a point, and he and his pairing Jeff Schultz played much better than they did in Game Two.  They both finished +2, and Schultz blocked three shots.

It was a much-needed performance by a team that might have been a little shaken the way Montreal came into Verizon Center in Games One and Two and gave the Caps all they could handle.

The Caps responded in Game Three, showing that they were not going to be intimidated, either by the crowd, the building, or the Canadiens themselves.

Game Four is Wednesday night.