Capitals coach Adam Oates understands there will be rookie mistakes over the course of a hockey game. It’s when veterans are making those same mistakes that he gets a little hot under the collar.

“Sometimes when I’m up here I’m more frustrated than others,” Oates said following the Capitals’ 3-2 loss to the Canadiens. “Tonight I’m a little more mad at the older guys for [not] helping the young kids out.”

A giveaway by Mikhail Grabovski led to the Canadiens’ first goal, a Travis Moen snap shot that grazed off Michal Neuvirth’s left pad and into the net 8:53 into the first period.

Nicklas Backstrom lost a faceoff – then lost his man – as David Desharnais redirected a point shot by Josh Gorges to give the Habs a 2-0 lead.

If that wasn’t enough to put the VerizonCenter crowd in an ornery mood, a roughing penalty to Marty Erat led Danny Briere’s power-play goal that put the Caps in a 3-0 hole.

“We cant expect to win games going down 3-0,” said Troy Brouwer, who tried to get things going with a first-period fight with P.K. Subban and a team-high six hits. “It’s been a big problem of ours all season long, getting down by goals. We have the ability in this room to come back, but you’re not going to be able to do it every night.”

Asked what could generate better starts, Brouwer quipped: “Maybe we need better music or something. We need to find a way to get better.”

The Caps gained back some momentum when Alex Ovechkin scored with 23 seconds remaining in the first period on a bad angle shot, but Ovechkin allowed his frustration get the best of him midway through the third period when he grabbed Brian Gionta by the head and three him to the ice for a roughing minor.