Skip to main content

Ovechkin's four points lead Capitals past Ducks

by Curtis Zupke

ANAHEIM -- Alex Ovechkin sat in his locker in the Washington Capitals' dressing room Sunday packed with media, teammates and smiling fathers. It wasn't quite like a Stanley Cup Playoff atmosphere, but it was significant for Ovechkin and his teammates.

Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading 35th and 36th goals and assisted on two others to lead the Capitals to a 5-3 win against the shorthanded Anaheim Ducks in front of a sellout crowd of 17,252 at Honda Center.

The Capitals (30-17-10) split their weekend back-to-back set in Southern California behind Ovechkin, who scored twice in the first period and assisted on Washington's fourth and fifth goals. Andre Burakovsky recorded his first multi-goal game, including a conversion of a 2-on-1 with Ovechkin at 9:42 of the third period for a 5-3 lead.

Goalie Justin Peters made 30 saves for his first win since Nov.8.

"It was a very important game for us mentally, because [Peters] was in net," Ovechkin said. "We want to get his confidence back. Everybody played hard, especially because of the way we played yesterday. We didn't get any success, but right now we did what we had to do."

The win followed a 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, with all their fathers in attendance.

"This was a dad's treat," Ovechkin said. "We didn't get success yesterday, but tonight I think we made them happy, and right now it's a great atmosphere in the locker room."

Ovechkin turned in his latest amazing performance at Honda Center, where he has eight goals and six assists in five career games; he has and nine goals and nine assists in 11 games against Anaheim.

"He likes California," Washington coach Barry Trotz said. "Sometimes I found with my first year with Ovi, either the bigger the stage or the bigger the importance of the game, the bigger he plays, and that's rare … that's what being a star player in this League is. You're not afraid of the spotlight. You're not afraid of criticism. You're not afraid of what the game presents. You just go out there and get the job done."

The Ducks (35-15-7) got two goals from Andrew Cogliano but lost second-leading goal scorer Matt Beleskey and defenseman Sami Vatanen to upper- and lower-body injuries, respectively, in the first period. Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau did not have an update on either after the game.

Boudreau and his players did not use that as an excuse, although it would have been easy because they are a part of the power play and the Ducks went 0-for-4. They could not give goalie John Gibson help; Anaheim has allowed five or more goals in three of four games.

"We're just at that point in the year where we have to be mentally stronger," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "We need to get that mojo back that we had throughout the start of the season."

Ovechkin's first assist was as impressive as his two goals. He sped past Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner at the blue line and backhanded a pass to Burakovsky, who beat Gibson at 9:04 of the second period.

"I try to use my backhand," Ovechkin said with a laugh. "But again, it was just the situation. He was open a couple of times and he's a skilled guy, and I'm pretty sure if you have a 1-on-1, he will score. Those are huge goals by him and for us as well."

Ovechkin tied it 2-2 with a one-timer from the left circle on the power play at 10:26. He made it 1-1 with a quick snap shot off Nicklas Backstrom's faceoff win at 1:22. Backstrom recorded his NHL-leading 43rd assist on the play.

The Ducks got first-period goals by Cogliano and Corey Perry, whose team-leading 24th came on a wrist shot at 5:33. Getzlaf put a big hit on Brooks Orpik moments before the sequence.

Anaheim did not want to trade chances with Washington, but the Capitals got into their game and scored goals in transition.

"With the style they play, we gave them too many easy goals," Cogliano said. "A lot of them were off the rush and a couple of them were 2-on-1s. When you give opportunities like that to a skilled team, they beat you. That happened tonight."

Francois Beauchemin became the second Ducks defenseman to play 500 games, behind Ruslan Salei (594).

A moment of silence was observed before the game for former Ducks defenseman Steve Montador, who died Sunday.

Washington has won five straight in Anaheim. The Ducks haven't defeated the Capitals at home since Dec.11, 2002.

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.