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game recap

Ovechkin scores milestone goal in Capitals win

Reaches 30 for 11th straight season in victory vs. Flyers

by Katie Brown @katiebhockey / Correspondent

Ovechkin's 30th goal

PHI@WSH: Ovechkin ties the game with a 30th goal

2/7/16: Alex Ovechkin ties the score, and picks up his 30th goal of the season, after deflecting Karl Alzner's shot into the net

  • 00:48 •

WASHINGTON --When Alex Ovechkin scored in the Washington Capitals' 3-2 win against the Philadelphia Flyers at Verizon Center on Sunday, he accomplished something done by only two other players in NHL history.

Ovechkin scored his 30th goal, the 11th straight season to start his career that he has scored at least 30. He joined Wayne Gretzky (13 seasons) and Mike Gartner (15 seasons).

"Everything's been said about Alex," coach Barry Trotz said. "He's probably the best goal-scorer of this generation of players. It's not surprising and he's going to probably do it another time or two before he's done. It's fantastic. Consistency, that's a part of greatness."

Defenseman Matt Niskanen went end-to-end and broke a 2-2 tie at 5:24 of the third with his third goal of the season and first since October 15.

"It's fun to watch a guy that doesn't get attention often to finally get what he deserves," defenseman Karl Alzner said of Niskanen's goal. "That has to be one of the nicest plays of the year for him to get because he makes a bunch of nice little plays throughout the entire season."

The Capitals led 2-1 after two periods on goals by Ovechkin and defensemen Dmitry Orlov. They improved to 14-1-1 in their past 16 home games.

Video: PHI@WSH: Niskanen powers into the zone and scores

"It can't be the top two lines all the time contributing," Niskanen said. "[Saturday] we got a goal from our fourth line, today a couple from the 'D'. That's part of being a team. Different teams that we face, there might be different areas of the ice that are open, different tactics that work."

Ovechkin tied the game 1-1 at 15:56 of the second period, when he deflected Alzner's point shot past Steve Mason.

"You just have to do what you have to do," Ovechkin said. "It was not pretty goal, but it was a really important goal for us. I'll take it."

Orlov gave the Capitals a 2-1 lead 1:09 later with his fifth goal of the season. He skated into the Flyers zone, past forwards Nick Cousins and Brayden Schenn and beat Mason with a wrist shot from the left circle. His 19 points matches his career high.

With his assist on Orlov's goal, Andre Burakovsky extended his point streak to seven games.

Video: PHI@WSH: Orlov gives the Capitals their first lead 

Braden Holtby made 33 saves for Washington (38-9-4) in his 33rd win of the season. Holtby is 3-0-0 in back-to-back games this season.

"When everything else fails, Braden's been phenomenal," Trotz said.

Del Zotto scored with 1:39 remaining in the first period for a 1-0 Flyers lead, his fourth goal of the season. Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere fed a slap pass to Del Zotto from the blue line. Del Zotto's point shot deflected off the skate of Niskanen past Holtby.

"Holtby made a couple unbelievable saves," Del Zotto said. "That's going to happen. We knew they were going to come out with a big push in the second the same time as last time we were in this building. We were expecting it, we just for whatever reason were on our heels a little bit. Back to back goals in however long it was (1:09), that can't happen after a goal against. You need to come out and try to get some momentum back on your side."

Nick Schultz also scored for Philadelphia (23-19-9) and Mason made 27 saves. Mason is 2-1-0 in back to back games this season.

"I thought we had some good opportunities," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. "Probably one thing, if we could get a couple more pucks on net. I think we had some opportunities that instead of getting the puck on net we missed a couple of those, especially up top. They battled hard on their penalty kill."

Video: PHI@WSH: Schultz ties game with first goal of season

The Flyers ended a streak of seven consecutive games with a power-play goal. A 5-on-3 that the Capitals killed off in the second period was something each team said was a turning point in the game.

"Of course if we score it's a different game, but you can't really look at that as a deal-breaker." Gostisbehere said. "We could have done a lot more things to help out [Mason]. He's playing that many games in a row, we could have done a lot more to help him out there."

Gostisbehere has 11 points in his past eight games, the longest point streak for a rookie defenseman in Flyers history and according to the Elias Sports Bureau, the longest in the NHL since St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk posted a nine-game streak for the Colorado Avalanche from Nov. 17-Dec. 4, 2010.

The Capitals have surrendered the first goal in seven of their past eight games. Since the All-Star Break, Washington's penalty kill is eight for its past nine and has not scored on the power play in any of its past 17 attempts.

"We haven't been finding the back of the net on the power play, but the penalty kill's been pretty good," Niskanen said. "It's been pretty steady all year." 

Capitals forward Marcus Johansson missed his fifth consecutive game with an upper-body injury. Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth missed a fourth consecutive game with a lower body injury.

Video: Niskanen's late goal lifts Capitals

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