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Alex Ovechkin didn't need long to show why he's the NHL's reigning MVP and why he could be favored to repeat.
The Washington star looks to build off his first two goals of the season Monday when he and the Capitals host the Vancouver Canucks, who are looking for their first 3-0 start in nine years.
Ovechkin scored a league-leading 65 goals to go along with 47 assists last season to help the Capitals (1-1-0) reach the playoffs for the first time since 2003. He scored twice Saturday in a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks in Washington's home opener.
"Look at him and how he plays - he wins battles. That's why he's a star player," Blackhawks coach Denis Savard said. "You want to be a star player, you do it every night, not just once in a while."
The Capitals trailed 2-1 after the first period, but Ovechkin tied it in the second with his first goal of the season. He added another with about 1 1/2 minutes left to complete the scoring after Brooks Laich scored the go-ahead goal 15:33 into the third period.
The Capitals bounced back after opening the season with a 7-4 loss at Atlanta on Friday. Jose Theodore, who didn't make it through the second period in the loss after allowing four goals, made 19 saves on Saturday and recovered despite allowing a goal between his legs on the first shot he faced, 26 seconds into the game.
"I just felt really bad for Theo," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I knew he wanted more than anything tonight, and I knew he wanted to redeem himself."
Theodore signed a two-year, $9 million contract in the offseason. The Capitals were looking for someone to replace Olaf Kolzig and Cristobal Huet, who both left via free agency. In 52 starts last season with Colorado, Theodore had a 2.47 goals-against average.
He played well against Vancouver last season, going 5-0-1 with a 1.97 GAA.
Theodore faces a Canucks team that has showed surprising offensive power early on, though. Vancouver swept a home-and-home series with the Calgary Flames to open the season, winning 6-0 at home on Thursday and 5-4 in overtime on Saturday to open a six-game road trip. Daniel Sedin, who had three assists in the opener, had two goals Saturday, and Pavol Demitra scored with 1:06 left in overtime for the win.
"When you go to the net, good things happen," Demitra said. "I was a little bit lucky but (Alex) Burrows made a good play. I think he lost the puck and it came right to my stick and I just put it in the net."
The Canucks last won their first three games in the 1999-2000 season.
Vancouver's impressive offensive output in the first two games is a good sign for a team that was in the bottom third of the league in goals scored with 213 in 2007-08.
"It's a great feeling, a win in this building, and a good start at 2-0," said Demitra, who was signed as a free agent in the offseason to help boost the offense. "Everybody on this team is having a good time, everyone's contributing."
Washington is 0-4-1 in the five meetings with Vancouver since a 4-3 victory in 2001. Last season, the Canucks won 3-2.