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game recap

Ovechkin scores four times, Capitals defeat Canadiens

Starts season with consecutive hat tricks; Walker, first Australian, gets goal in debut

by Brian McNally / Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- Alex Ovechkin scored four times, his second hat trick in as many games to start the season, and the Washington Capitals defeated the Montreal Canadiens 6-1 at Capital One Arena on Saturday.

Ovechkin has seven goals in the first two games. He scored three times in the third period of a 5-4 shootout win against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.

He is the first player to have a hat trick in consecutive games to start an NHL season since 1917-18, when Cy Denneny, Joe Malone and Reg Noble each did so, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.


[WATCH: All Canadiens vs. Capitals highlights]


"My wife, her sister is here, and every time she's in town I score a hat trick," Ovechkin said. "So back-to-back and she's leaving Monday. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to talk to someone to keep her here to go to Tampa maybe. But it's a fun time when you play like that and your line is feeling it."

Video: MTL@WSH: Ovi scores four in second game of season

Nathan Walker, debuting as the first Australian to play in an NHL game, scored with 1:55 remaining for a 6-1 lead.

"I'm at a loss for words," Walker said. "That's incredible. A really special moment, a proud moment."

Ovechkin (at 20 seconds) and T.J. Oshie scored in the first 46 seconds for a 2-0 lead. Ovechkin scored a power-play goal at 2:51 to make it 3-0, and gave the Capitals a 4-0 lead with 1:50 left in the period. He made it 5-1 with 3:14 left in the second period.

"You give him an inch, that's all he needs to snap it home," said Montreal defenseman Karl Alzner, Ovechkin's teammate for nine seasons in Washington. "On the first one, an inch. On the tip-in, an inch. And that's it. Sometimes you play good [defense] and it just doesn't work out. That's what good players do."

Canadiens goalie Carey Price made 10 saves. He was pulled and replaced by Al Montoya to start the second period. Brendan Gallagher scored a shorthanded goal for Montreal 4:50 into the second.

Video: MTL@WSH: First NHL Aussie Walker scores in debut

Braden Holtby made 38 saves for Washington. Evgeny Kuznetsov had an assist on each of Ovechkin's goals.

"I think the biggest thing is, Alex is skating and he's getting to those pucks and his shot in undeniable," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "When he's moving his feet, you just need that space. He started the game off with a big goal."


Save of the game

Holtby saw three teammates (John Carlson, Brooks Orpik, Evgeny Kuznetsov) collide in the neutral zone 50 seconds into the third period. That left Canadiens forward Charles Hudon alone on the left wing. He passed across the ice to a wide-open Artturi Lehkonen, but Holtby stopped him with a sliding pad save.

Video: MTL@WSH: Holtby sprawls to deny Lehkonen in close


Highlight of the game

The puck was rolling in the left face-off circle and no Canadiens player was able to clear it. Ovechkin stopped, whirled and one-timed a shot over Price's left shoulder for the first goal of the game.

Video: MTL@WSH: Ovechkin turns and fires a superb goal


They said it

"That's a pretty lame excuse. We knew what we were coming into: their first game at home. We know the type of team that we were playing. There's no excuse not to be ready. They [have] good players on their side, but obviously you can't spot a team a three-goal lead in the first three minutes of a game and expect to win. There were times when we pushed back, but it's unacceptable to start that way, and we learned a tough lesson tonight." -- Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher


"You want to be at the front of the net, and I think Brooks Laich [said] it: 'If you want money, you go to the bank; if you want goals, you go to the front of the net.'" -- Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin


Need to know

It was Ovechkin's 19th NHL hat trick, tying Peter Bondra for the Capitals record, and he passed Mike Modano, Mats Sundin and Joe Nieuwendyk to reach 22nd in NHL history with 565 goals.


What's next

Canadiens: At the New York Rangers on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN1, MSG+, RDS, NHL.TV)

Capitals: At the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET; SUN, NBCSWA, NHL.TV)


Video: Ovechkin tallies four goals in 6-1 win against Habs

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