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Ovechkin's power-play goals lead Capitals past Bruins

by Matt Kalman

BOSTON -- Once you've played against him, it's impossible to forget how dynamic Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin is.

The Boston Bruins were reminded about Ovechkin's lethality in their first meeting of the season with the Capitals. The NHL leader in goals added to his League-leading power-play goal total with two scores on the man-advantage, including his 800th NHL point, and Joel Ward scored the game-winning goal on a breakaway in the Capitals' 4-2 victory at TD Garden on Saturday.

Washington let the Bruins creep back within 3-2 before holding on for the win.

"They got a little bit of momentum and the crowd got them into it, their fourth line got them into it and then we got to see a little bit of Boston and the way they have played all season long. And it's a tough team to defend against," Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner said. "So we were happy but we knew we had more and we knew we took the foot off the gas a little bit coming into the [second] intermission. It was a good reset for us and we came out good again in the third."

The Bruins and Capitals will meet twice more in March, including a rematch at TD Garden on Thursday. Ovechkin now has 43 goals overall and 17 power-play goals. The Capitals have matched a season high with four wins in a row and are 5-1-1 in their past seven dating back to before the Olympic break.

"We went into the break how we wanted to, that was a big thing for us, and we came back really refreshed," Washington goaltender Braden Holtby said. "It's good, but again those are just numbers and they are in the past, and the biggest thing is [the game Sunday]."

Eric Fehr also scored for Washington and Holtby stopped 36 shots. The Capitals (29-23-9) have won five of their past six against the Bruins.

The Bruins (37-18-5) lost in regulation for the first time in six games (3-1-2). They're 0-1-1 since the Olympic break and have allowed nine goals in those two games.

"I think at this point in time the areas that I guess we haven't been as good at need to be addressed, because that's how we want to be as a team. We want to be held accountable to the areas that we didn't do as well tonight as I think we would like to," Bruins center Gregory Campbell said. "I think there were some positives in the game, but I mean it's another loss. We really don't like to lose two games in a row. At this point in time you're going to get the best from every team. That team is fighting for a playoff spot. It's just some details in the game that as a team we make a point to focus on."

Ovechkin cashed in on the Capitals' second power-play opportunity of the game with his first career goal against Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask. With Boston forward Chris Kelly off for interference, Ovechkin set up in his favorite spot near the top of the left circle and beat Rask with a one-timer at 18:39 of the first period for a 1-0 lead.

The Bruins earlier had squandered a chance to score first. Jay Beagle was called for holding and during the delayed penalty Tom Wilson was whistled for high-sticking. But the Bruins failed to score during the two-minute 5-on-3 and had only one shot on Holtby.

"That was huge. That was huge," Capitals coach Adam Oates said. "Two minutes, from a faceoff, great job. And they didn't get that many looks during it, which is great."

Another Washington power play early in the second period led to another Ovechkin goal and a 2-0 lead at 2:24. This time, he one-timed a shot from the top of the left circle on the rush for his 800th point in his 658th game.

"If he gets those one-timers with a half-empty net, you're pretty much going to score. You have to recognize that he's out there and I don't think we did a very good job today with that," said Rask, who finished with 27 saves. "He had that shot in the first period before he scored and then he gets that goal and the next one I was almost positive he was going short sided, but he kind of knuckled and he stalled and it went in. But if you keep giving him those one-timers he's going to find the back of the net."

Ward put the Capitals ahead 3-0 at 10:14. He stole the puck from Boston defenseman Johnny Boychuk at the Bruins' blue line, split the defense and beat Rask with a backhander.

Boston started its comeback on the power play. Dougie Hamilton drove the puck to the right dot and passed back to Patrice Bergeron for a one-timer from the right hash mark that beat Holtby high at 10:54.

The Bruins' fourth line then trimmed the Capitals' lead to 3-2. Shawn Thornton's centering pass intended for Campbell deflected off Capitals defenseman Mike Green and went past Holtby for a goal at 17:32.

The Bruins outshot the Capitals 15-8 in the second period and went to the intermission behind 3-2.

The Capitals host the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday afternoon (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC). Boston visits the New York Rangers on Sunday night (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN2, RDS2).

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