Ovechkin entered the game with five goals in 16 games this season, only good enough to be tied for third on his own team, which began the day with a 5-10-1 record and 11 standings points, the fewest in the 30-team NHL.
But the two-time NHL MVP broke out in a big way, turning in his first three-goal game since a 4-1 victory at Toronto on Jan. 22, 2011.
Ilya Kovalchuk's goal with 37.5 seconds left in the second period tied the game for New Jersey, but Ovechkin put Washington ahead to stay 1:23 into the third.
KINGS 4, AVALANCHE 1
Anze Kopitar also scored and Jonathan Quick made 23 saves for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who won for the fifth time in six games after beginning the day 11th in the Western Conference and two points out of a playoff spot. Last season, the Kings became the first team in history to win the Cup as an eighth seed.
FLYERS 5, JETS 3
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Wayne Simmonds scored a go-ahead goal about halfway through the third period and Philadelphia beat Winnipeg.
Brayden Schenn scored two goals and Claude Giroux added one for the Flyers, who scored three on the power play. Evander Kane, Olli Jokinen and Alexander Burmistrov scored for the Jets, whose road-game winning streak ended at 2.
Flyers left wing Scott Hartnell, who had missed the last 16 games with a broken foot, was a last-minute addition to the team's lineup. Not even his surprise return was enough for the Flyers to hit the ice with any energy. They went a stretch of 9:47 in the opening period without registering a shot on Ondrej Pavelec.
OILERS 3, COYOTES 2, SO
Kyle Chipchura and Mikkel Boedker scored for the Coyotes, who had a two-game winning streak snapped. Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith was excellent with 41 saves, but couldn't stop Eberle and Gagner in the shootout.