Skip to Main Content

Capitals 3, Mighty Ducks 2, OT @NHLdotcom

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Alexander Ovechkin is reason enough to watch the last-place Washington Capitals.

Ovechkin completed his first career hat trick 2:04 into overtime, and the Capitals snapped a six-game losing streak Friday night with a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. It was just the fifth road win this season for the fifth-place club in the Southeast Division.

"My teammates gave me great chances to score," Ovechkin said after his sixth multi-goal game and first since Nov. 8 at Toronto. "I'm happy to score three goals and win this game. It's my first hat trick in the NHL, and it feels like my first goal in the NHL."

Ovechkin's 30 goals and 55 points are the most among rookies. The No. 1 pick in the 2004 draft has scored at least one goal in 12 of his last 18 games.

"He keeps on doing stuff like this," Washington coach Glen Hanlon said. "Just when I thought I've seen it all, he does something else. He did a lot of things tonight that were pretty impressive. I think you got a pretty good idea of what a force he is."

Chris Clark and Dainius Zubrus each had two assists for the Capitals in the only meeting between the teams this season. Brent Johnson made 32 saves in his first start since Dec. 28 at New Jersey when he injured a groin muscle.

Joffrey Lupul and Travis Moen scored for Anaheim. Teemu Selanne, the Ducks' leading scorer, missed his first game of the season because of a groin strain.

"That's no excuse," Lupul said. "Injuries happen. The guys have to step up when a guy like Teemu goes out, and tonight that didn't happen."

Ovechkin got the puck from Zubrus along the left boards at the Anaheim blue line, skated in on rookie defenseman Francois Beauchemin and sent a 20-foot wrist shot through the legs of Beauchemin and goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere for his fourth winner - not counting the three goals he has scored to decide shootouts.

"We got beat by a very special player," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. "He did everything he had to do to dominate the game in the goal-scoring department. He's a dominant young player. He's the real deal."

Ovechkin scored on three of his four shots. He opened the scoring at 1:45 of the second period, finishing off a 2-on-1 rush with a short backhander. Ovechkin began the play by knocking the puck off the stick of Anaheim's Todd Fedoruk inside the Washington blue line, and Clark skated most of the way with it before setting up his linemate.

Lupul tied it less than 3 minutes later with a wrist shot from the top of the left circle that nicked the webbing of Johnson's glove as it headed for the top right corner of the net.

Washington regained the lead when Ovechkin got the puck at the top of the right circle, stickhandled through the slot past defenseman Ruslan Salei and did a complete spin before beating Giguere with a short wrist shot.

"I was impressed with how hard he worked," Lupul said. "He skated hard and he finished his checks. And when you have that much talent, goals are going to come. But we've got to do a lot better job on him as well."

Ovechkin has recorded a NHL-high 208 shots - 112 more than his closest teammate, defenseman Jamie Heward. The 6-foot-2, 216-pound left winger is on pace to break the NHL rookie record of 387, which Selanne set with the Winnipeg Jets in the 1992-93 season.

Anaheim pulled even for the second time at 17:44 of the second with Moen's third goal of the season, a slap shot from the right circle that beat Johnson high to the glove side.

Notes: The Russian-born Ovechkin will play in his first Winter Olympics next month in Turin, Italy. His mother, Tatiana, won two Olympic gold medals while competing for the Soviet basketball team in the 1976 Summer Games at Montreal and in 1980 at Moscow. ... The Ducks have lost the last four times they have played on Friday the 13th, dating to a 5-4 victory over the Capitals in December 1996 at Anaheim. ... Jeff Friesen, who played 96 games with Anaheim, returned to the Capitals lineup after missing 28 games with a groin injury. ... Two of the Capitals' five road wins have been in Southern California. They beat the Los Angeles Kings on Dec. 14. ... The Capitals are 4-8 when Ovechkin scores their first goal. ... Washington is 10-0 when allowing fewer than three goals. ... Anaheim C Rob Niedermayer missed his fourth game because of a concussion.

View More