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Ovechkin scores sevenh hat trick as Washington beats Ottawa 7-4

NHL.com @NHL

WASHINGTON - Alex Ovechkin scored three goals for his seventh career hat trick and second of the season to lead the Washington Capitals to a 7-4 win over the Ottawa Senators on Sunday.

Ovechkin scored his goals in the first two periods with Sergei Federov getting assists on each. Mike Green added a goal and three assists, and Eric Fehr, Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom also scored for Washington.

Daniel Alfredsson scored twice for the Senators and Dany Heatley and Antoine Vermette had a goal apiece.

The Capitals had an early 12:30 p.m. start for the second consecutive day. On Saturday, Ovechkin had said he felt "sleepy" early in the game but woke up with two goals in the third period. He had no problems getting going Sunday.

He completed the hat trick with 4:29 left in the second period when he took a pass from Federov near the left boards at the blue-line. Ovechkin skated in and put a shot through defenceman Filip Kuba's legs - the second time he'd gone through Kuba's legs for a score - and past goaltender Alex Auld.

The Capitals first grabbed the lead early with an efficient power play - Washington took a combined seven seconds to score two goals after Ottawa's first two penalties.

The Capitals' first goal came three seconds after the Senators' first penalty. Backstrom won the faceoff in the right circle and kicked the puck back to Green, who pulled it in at the top of the circle and fired in the score.

Less than a minute later, Washington had another power play, and this time the Capitals took four seconds to pick up their second goal.

The play started in nearly the same way, with Federov pushing the faceoff to Green at the top of the right circle. This time, Green found Ovechkin open on the right side of the ice. He put in his first goal of the game 10:32 into the first period, giving Washington a 2-1 lead.

Ovechkin's second goal came 2:15 into the second period, when he took a dump pass from Federov at the top of the right circle and ripped a shot through Kuba's legs. That goal gave Washington a 4-2 lead, and led Ottawa coach Craig Hartsburg to pull starting goaltender Brian Elliot in favour of Auld.

The change in goal did little to stop Washington's offence, as the Capitals scored four goals in the second period, the most the Senators have allowed in any period this season.

Washington led 6-2 after two periods, but Ottawa cut the lead with two goals in the third. Vermette scored at 7:56 and Heatley poked in a loose puck one-handed at 11:28. Backstrom finished the scoring with an empty-net goal in the final minute.

Notes: It was the fourth time in the last seven games Ovechkin has scored at least two goals. He now has 199 career goals. ... Green has scored in the last three games, and his 15 goals this season lead all NHL defenceman. ... Brent Johnson started in goal for the Capitals for the first time in eight games, giving Jose Theodore a rest. ... In his career, Ovechkin has scored three goals in a game five times, and has two four-goal performances. ... The game was the 14th sellout of the season for the Capitals and the seventh straight - one shy of the team record.

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