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Ovechkin leads Caps to 6-4 win over Ducks

by John Kreiser /
Alex Ovechkin's slow start is an increasingly distant memory.

Ovechkin extended his goal-scoring and multi-point streaks to five games each by scoring a goal and setting up three others as the Washington Capitals held off the Anaheim Ducks 6-4 on Wednesday night for their sixth win in seven games.

The reigning NHL scoring champ set up goals by Tomas Fleischmann, Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom in a span of less than five minutes to give the Caps a 3-0 lead 7:13 into the game. He added his eighth goal of the season and sixth in five games 2:43 into the second period to make it 4-2.

Ovechkin has 14 points and is plus-12 in his last five games. He also has 4 goals and 3 assists for 7 points in his two career appearances at the Honda Center.

"It's fun to go to different places," said Ovechkin, whose team plays at Los Angeles on Thursday. "There's a great atmosphere here."

Rookie Bobby Ryan scored twice and set up another goal for the Ducks, who finished a six-game homestand with a disappointing 2-3-1 record. Ryan and center Ryan Getzlaf scored in the first period to cut the margin to 3-2, and he and Teemu Selanne scored 87 seconds apart midway through the third period to cut the margin to 6-4.

"I think the confidence that I took from Iowa coming up has really just translated," said Ryan, who was playing his second game after being recalled from Iowa of the AHL. "Playing with [Ryan] Getzlaf and [Corey] Perry gives me a little more. I know I'm free to do a couple different things here and there and I’m not going to get punished every time I try something. Individually it’s nice to put up points and it’s nice to get your feet under you. All that doesn’t mean a whole lot when you’re losing a game you should have won."

Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle pulled starting goaltender Jonas Hiller after Backstrom's goal, a wide-open backhander after Ovechkin drew four Ducks to him, put the Ducks down 3-0.

"We have to be ready to play for the full 60 minutes," Anaheim center Corey Perry said. "Coming out and giving up three goals right away, it doesn’t help our cause. The rest of the game we have to battle back. It’s an uphill climb when you get down 3-0 in the first five minutes."

Though they rallied to get within a goal, second-period scores by Ovechkin and Matt Bradley and Dave Steckel's third-period goal were enough for the Caps to survive Anaheim's late push.

"We did get up a couple of times, but we knew how gritty a team they were and that they wouldn't give up," Bradley said. "They had us on the ropes right to the end."

After a slow start that saw him get only five points in October, Ovechkin looks like the player who led the NHL with 65 goals and 112 points last season. No player plays with a better mixture of passing and skill than No. 8.

Washington is 15-0-1 in the last 16 games in which Ovechkin has scored a goal, and 25-3-2 in the last 30 such games. In the Caps' previous game, he scored the tying goal with 1 second left in regulation before the Capitals lost to New Jersey in a shootout

But Ovechkin deflected any praise to the rest of his teammates.

"I just try … it's not all me," he said. "It's my teammates, my linemates. They try to give me passes, they try to find me in open areas. It doesn't matter who I play with. I just enjoy it."

Ovechkin may have enjoyed himself, but there weren't many smiles in the Anaheim locker room. The Ducks continue to pay the price for parading to the penalty box. Three of the Caps' first four goals came with the man advantage.

"We've only talked about it about 250 million times," a frustrated Carlyle said. "Obviously, it has to resort to some drastic measures. I think we’re in a situation where we’re going to continue to make changes and consider lineup changes if that is going to continue."

The game marked the first time in a month that the Caps' power play generated more than one goal.

"We've been practicing it, and practicing it," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Those things are difference makers. We thought special teams were going to make the difference in the game, and they did."

The only bad note for the Caps was the fact that Green was wearing a sling on his right arm following the game after being checked into the boards by Anaheim defenseman Chris Pronger late in the first period. He didn't return

Material from wire services and team online and broadcast media were used in this report

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