GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - When Wayne Gretzky admires a goal, that says something.
"That was pretty sweet," the Great One said after Alex Ovechkin led the Washington Capitals to a 6-1 rout of Coach Gretzky's Phoenix Coyotes on Monday. "You know, he's a phenomenal player, and he's been a tremendous influence in the game. It's great to see, because he is that good."
Ovechkin had two goals, the second on an amazing flick of the stick while rolling on the ice, and an assist, helping the Capitals win consecutive road games for the first time all season.
Ben Clymer and Matt Bradley had a goal and an assist each, and Dainius Zubrus and Brian Sutherby also scored for the Capitals, who improved to 6-13-1 away from home.
Ovechkin scored a fluke goal in the first period. He overcompensated in the third, when he beat Brian Boucher while sprawled on the ice, sliding toward the corner and rolling from his back to his chest.
Somehow, the 20-year-old Russian kept the net in mind after Coyotes defenseman Paul Mara knocked him down coming through the circle. Ovechkin sent the puck into the net at a sharp angle. The shot handcuffed Boucher, who was also on the ice and tried for a stick save. The puck went in with 8:06 left.
"The best goal I ever scored," Ovechkin said. "I just went down and shot."
It was his 14th goal in 13 games.
"The kid's amazing," Washington goaltender Brent Johnson said. "I mean, he seems to be on the scoreboard every night with some unbelievable shots. He's got one of the best shots that I've ever seen in the game, and it's just one of the quickest releases."
Ovechkin has an NHL rookie-high 32 goals this season and five in two games. He had his first hat trick Friday at Anaheim.
Johnson, a backup, won that game and was rewarded with a second consecutive start. He had 21 saves this time.
"They guys just worked so hard out there," Johnson said about his defense. "They limited all their chances. I don't think they had one second shot, like a rebound opportunity."
Shane Doan had Phoenix's goal, scoring on a first-period power play. But that was it for the Coyotes, who had won twice in close games at Buffalo and Toronto on the heels of a five-game losing streak.
"It's a pretty low period right now," Mara said. "We had two fantastic games versus Buffalo and Toronto, and to come down tonight with that type of performance is unexplainable."
Boucher, who stopped 28 shots, had bad luck on Washington's first power play, a centering pass from the Coyotes' Mike Ricci that went off the stick of teammate Zbynek Michalek and between the kneeling goalie's pads with 5:47 left in the first period. Ovechkin got the credit as the last Capitals player to touch the puck.
Doan answered 3:40 later when he deflected a slap shot by Keith Ballard, but the Capitals scored four times in the second period.
They made it 2-1 when Clymer fired the puck past Boucher's stick side after an inside-out pass from Brooks Laich along the boards - the first of Laich's two assists - 30 seconds in, and got to 3-1 on Zubrus' second goal, a slap shot from the circle at 2:23.
In the final 8:21 of the second, Sutherby and Bradley netted goals on nearly identical plays - centering passes from Brian Willsie (Sutherby) and Clymer to the crease at Boucher's left.
"I think this is a good confidence booster for this young club," coach Glen Hanlon said. "You know, before we went to Anaheim, I think we lost like eight straight (eight of nine), so it's been a long time coming. It's always good to win back-to-back games, especially on the road."
Notes: Washington D Jamie Heward sat out the third period with a lower body injury. ... The Caps have won back-to-back games just three times this season. ... Johnson (4-5) made his second consecutive start for the first time since Nov. 15, when he beat Tampa Bay for his first victory with Washington. ... Ovechkin has 17 multipoint games. ... Phoenix C Petr Nedved, a healthy scratch for two games, was on the ice this time and had an assist, his 11th point in 25 games. ... Coyotes D Sean O'Donnell returned to the lineup after a two-game suspension for his third instigator penalty of the season.
|PPG - Alex Ovechkin (31) ASST: NONE|
1 - 0 WSH
|PPG - Shane Doan (13) ASST: Keith Ballard (14), Petr Nedved (9)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Ben Clymer (6) ASST: Brooks Laich (5), Matt Bradley (7)|
2 - 1 WSH
|PPG - Dainius Zubrus (11) ASST: Alex Ovechkin (26), Brian Willsie (10)|
3 - 1 WSH
|Brian Sutherby (10) ASST: Brian Willsie (11)|
4 - 1 WSH
|Matt Bradley (5) ASST: Ben Clymer (3), Brooks Laich (6)|
5 - 1 WSH
|Alex Ovechkin (32) ASST: Brendan Witt (7)|
6 - 1 WSH
|Brooks Laich Tripping against Tyson Nash|
|Steve Gainey Interference against Boyd Gordon|
|Mike Comrie Holding|
|Alex Ovechkin Interference against Mike Ricci|
|Mike Ricci Holding the stick against Brian Sutherby|
|Colin Forbes Interference|
|Mike Comrie Too many men/ice - bench|
|Paul Mara Hooking against Alex Ovechkin|
|Nolan Yonkman Hooking against Shane Doan|
|Chris Clark Elbowing against Zbynek Michalek|
|Ladislav Nagy Tripping against Alex Ovechkin|
|Mike Ricci Hooking against Ben Clymer|
|Brendan Witt Roughing|