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Ovi ties career high with five points in Caps' rout

by Brian Hunter
Alex Ovechkin only lit the lamp once on Friday night, but he was directly responsible for the red light behind Vesa Toskala turning on five separate times.

Ovechkin recorded his first career four-assist game and tied his career high with five points, leading the Washington Capitals to a 6-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Verizon Center.

"He enjoys the team scoring goals," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said of Ovechkin. "He gets as excited about the team scoring goals as he does about him scoring goals. Whether he gets an assist or whether he gets nothing, when the team does well he does well."

Ovechkin opened the scoring just 49 seconds into the game before drawing primary assists on a pair of goals by Mike Knuble and single tallies by Eric Fehr and Tomas Fleischmann.

He passed Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and San Jose's Joe Thornton in the NHL scoring race, moving into second with 62 points, three behind the League leader, Vancouver's Henrik Sedin.

"Just lucky moments," Ovechkin said. "We got a lot of chances; I was there."

Tom Poti also scored and Jose Theodore stopped 28 shots for Washington, which pulled to within one point of idle New Jersey for the Eastern Conference lead and opened up a 17-point advantage over Atlanta in the Southeast Division.

Tomas Kaberle scored a power-play goal for Toronto, which was coming off a 4-0 home win over Philadelphia on Thursday.

Toskala's bid for a second straight shutout didn't last very long, as Ovechkin fired the puck past him in the opening minute to start the Capitals' surge. Fehr would tip in another Ovechkin drive during a delayed penalty with 2:09 left in the first for a 2-0 lead.

"They played last night and we had a day off," Ovechkin said of Washington's return home after games in Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Florida. "It was a long road trip. We come back and see our family, so we feel fresh."

Knuble picked up his 11th and 12th goals of the season during a span of 2:45 in the second. Knuble got a couple of whacks at the puck in the crease before converting a backhander at 4:03 and picked up another from around the same spot moments later.

"Sometimes you just happen to look down and it's right there," Knuble said.

Kaberle took advantage of a Fehr cross-checking penalty to get the Leafs on the board with 1:23 left in the period and it looked like they had trimmed their deficit even further when Matt Stajan put a puck past Theodore 48 seconds later. But it was immediately disallowed because of an Alexei Ponikarovsky high-sticking penalty that occurred just an instance before Stajan's shot.

Fleischmann was also the beneficiary of Ovechkin's lethal shot, as he redirected it for a power-play goal 6:47 into the third. Poti added his second of the season by firing a shot under the crossbar at the 11:06 mark.

"It just shows their skill level. They scored on just about every chance they had," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said.

Material from wire services and team broadcast media was used in this report.

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