SUNRISE, Fla. - Mike Green's NHL-record goals streak for defencemen ended at eight games, but Alexander Ovechkin scored three times to give the Washington Capitals a 4-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Sunday.
Ovechkin's second goal broke a tie with 2:31 left, and he completed the hat trick with an empty-netter to push his NHL-leading goals total to 41.
Eric Fehr also scored for Washington, extending his goals streak to four games.
Washington is 9-2-2 in its last 13 games and extended its lead over second-place Florida in the Southeast Division to 13 points.
Michael Frolik and Nathan Horton scored for the Florida. The Panthers lost in regulation for only the fourth time since Jan. 1 (12-4-3).
Washington's Jose Theodore stopped 29 shots.
Tomas Vokoun, making his sixth consecutive start for Florida, also made 29 saves.
Green, who broke the defenceman goals streak record against Tampa Bay on Saturday night, had a good scoring chance in the second period on a power play, but Vokoun stopped his one-timer from the high slot.
On the winner, Ovechkin took a long pass from Nicklas Backstrom deep in Florida territory, made a quick move back and fired a wrist shot from the wing that went between Vokoun's legs
Ovechkin's first goal gave Washington a 1-0 lead at 15:38 of the first period. He scored on the power play when his wrist shot along the ice beat Vokoun while he was being screened by Washington forward Brooks Laich.
Horton tied it with a power-play goal at 1:29 of the third. With Sergei Fedorov in the penalty box for delay of game, Horton scored off a scramble in front of the net when the puck slid across the crease. Horton also hit the post on a wrist shot from the slot during a power play midway through the third period.
Fehr gave Washington a 2-0 lead 30 seconds into the second period after Fedorov skated to the net from the side. Fedorov but lost control of the puck, but it went straight to Fehr, who put a backhand past Vokoun.
Frolik got Florida on the board at 12:08 of the second when he took Stephen Weiss' pass from behind the net and fired a short shot over the right shoulder of Theodore.
Notes: Green fell one short of tying the Washington record for consecutive games with a goal, set by Alan Haworth (1985-86) and matched by Mike Gartner (1986-87). ... Ovechkin played in his 300th NHL game. ... Florida missed a chance to set a franchise record with a sixth consecutive home victory. The Panthers have won five in a row at home three times, the last time in March 2008. ... Alexander Semin's assist on Ovechkin's goal gave him 50 points on the season, making the Capitals the first team in the league with four 50-point scorers. ... Washington leads the season series 2-1.