WASHINGTON - Alex Ovechkin scored another spectacular goal while sliding on the ice and the Washington Capitals went on to a 4-3 shootout win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.
Hooked and jabbed off his skates as he headed toward the net, the league's reigning MVP slid on his right side toward the crease and poked the puck under the right pad of Montreal goaltender Carey Price.
It was Ovechkin's league-leading 42nd goal of the season.
Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom scored in the shootout for the Capitals, while goaltender Jose Theodore clinched the victory by stopping shots from Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Markov.
Backstorm also scored in regulation for Washington, while Dave Steckel had the game-tying goal.
A rejuvinated power play did little to help Montreal. Plekanec, Christopher Higgins and Andrei Kostitsyn scored man-advantage goals for the faltering Canadiens, who have lost 11 of 14. Markov assisted on all three Montreal goals.
With the score tied 1-1, Ovechkin stole the puck from Roman Hamrlik at the blue-line and had only defenceman Kyle Chipchura to beat. Chipchura did all he could, using his stick and forearm to drag Ovechkin down from behind, but there was no denying the player who is on pace score 60-plus goals for the second consecutive season.
Chipchura's momentum dislodged the net after the puck went in, while Ovechkin remained sitting on the ice to receive a mob of celebrating teammates. Ever the showman, he put his hand to his ear to encourage the crowd's cheers after a replay was shown on the video scoreboard.
The goal seems destined for instant YouTube fame, in the same league as Ovechkin's sliding, stick-behind-the-head against the Phoenix Coyotes on Jan. 16, 2006.
The Canadiens took a 3-2 lead on Plekanec's power play goal with 11:03 remaining in regulation, but the Capitals forced overtime when Steckel deflected Tom Poti's shot into the net with 2:39 to play. Plekanec, returning from a two-game suspension for tripping Denis Grebeshkov in the Canadiens' 7-2 loss to Edmonton on Feb. 11, also put a shot off the post in the final seconds of overtime.
Backstrom scored in the first period for the Capitals, who have won three straight and 10 of 14. They improved to 23-4-1 at the Verizon Center as they opened a season-long, five-game homestand.
Montreal played without all-star right-wing Alex Kovalev, who was told by the team to stay home during the team's two-game swing through Washington and Pittsburgh in hopes the rest will help him snap out of a slump.
Notes: The game was the 6,000th in Canadiens history, including 150 in the National Hockey Association from 1910-17. The franchise was founded on Dec. 4, 1909. ... Mathieu Schneider, acquired from Atlanta on Monday for a pair of draft picks, had one assist for the Canadiens. ... Montreal is 1-3-1 with one game left on its a season-longest six-game road stretch. ... The Capitals have won 12 in a row at home against Eastern Conference opponents. ... Washington C Viktor Kozlov sixth straight game with a groin injury. ... The Capitals won the season series 3-1, beating the Canadiens three times in a season for the first time since 2000-01. ... Washington has scored in the first period in 10 straight games. ... Ovechkin has a 10-game point streak (11 goals, five assists). ... Capitals RW Eric Fehr's four-game goal-scoring streak came to an end.