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game recap

Capitals maintain lead in Metropolitan Division

Washington defeats Wild in overtime to stay three points ahead

by Jessi Pierce / NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Washington Capitals maintained their lead in the Metropolitan Division when T.J. Oshie scored his second goal of the game 1:52 into overtime for a 5-4 win against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday.

Alex Ovechkin had a hat trick and Marcus Johansson had four assists for Washington (50-17-8), which has won five consecutive games and remained three points ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Columbus defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-1 on Tuesday. 

"It's six games left. You try to be in the best shape, try to do as best as we can to feel comfortable be in the playoffs because every moment, every situation can change the game," Ovechkin said.

 

WATCH: All Capitals vs. Wild highlights

 

Ovechkin passed Johnny Bucyk for 26th place on the NHL all-time scoring list with 558 career goals. He scored all three of his goals on the power play and has 11 points (six goals, five assists) in his past eight games.

"I think a lot of [our success] has to do with [Ovechkin's] work ethic and how hard he's been playing lately," Oshie said. "A guy that dynamic, when he's working that hard, it's just going to start stuff up so he's doing good for us. … When he's rolling, it's fun."

Eric Staal tied the game with 26.6 seconds left in the third period, but the Wild (44-23-8) lost their fourth straight and are 1-7-2 in their past 10 games. They are seven points behind the Blackhawks for first place in the Central Division and Western Conference.

"It's always darkest before the dawn," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It's getting better. … For 65 games we were in a pretty good groove, and now we're sort of in a rut, trying to get out of that rut. When you score on the best defensive team in the League, two goals in the last five minutes, it's cause for hope, I guess."

Oshie gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead at 11:36 of the first period. He has eight points (six goals, two assists) in his past four games.

Video: WSH@MIN: Oshie slides home a rebound in front

Jason Pominville made it 1-1 at 2:17 of the second period.

Ovechkin gave the Capitals a 2-1 lead at 7:31 with a power-play goal. He scored another power-play goal at 12:28.

Martin Hanzal made it 3-2 at 15:43 when he put a rebound past Braden Holtby. Hanzal has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 14 games.

Ovechkin scored his third of the game at 12:29 of the third period, but Jared Spurgeon made it 4-3 at 15:03.  

"We're 17-0 when [Ovechkin] scores a hat trick," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "It's the release … he gets it off real quick and it's hard to pick up off his stick for goaltenders. He has the ability to pick the corners and pick areas. It's a gift."

Video: WSH@MIN: Ovechkin rips home his second PPG of period

Holtby made 26 saves for his 40th win of the season. He has won at least 40 games in three consecutive seasons, joining Martin Brodeur and Evgeni Nabokov as the only goaltenders in NHL history to have three straight 40-win seasons.

"It's pretty special. It's the one stat that I care about and that you want to succeed in every year," Holtby said. "Obviously a lot of the circumstance has to do with the team we've had here and the coaching, the last three years have been elite and we've had success that way. This year, I think, has been our best team yet going into the playoffs."

Devan Dubnyk made 15 saves. He is 1-6-1 in his past nine games.

 

Goal of the game

Ovechkin took a cross-ice feed from along the right wall from Nicklas Backstrom and sent a low wrist shot past Dubnyk to give the Capitals a 4-2 lead.

Video: WSH@MIN: Ovechkin buries third PPG to record hatty

 

Save of the game

Dubnyk robbed Ovechkin of his fourth goal on a breakaway one minute into overtime.  

Video: WSH@MIN: Dubnyk uses his glove to deny Ovechkin

 

Highlight of the game

Staal found himself open in the slot to tie the game at 4-4 and force overtime.

Video: WSH@MIN: Staal buries equalizer with 27 seconds left

 

Unsung performance of the game

Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner blocked three shots in 21:46 of ice time.

 

They said it

"That was a little harder than it had to be. I missed an empty-netter on the first one. … I don't know how [Ovechkin] does it over there [on the left side], but I was just ripping the puck and I found the top corner and happy to get away with two points." -- Capitals forward T.J. Oshie on his overtime goal

Video: WSH@MIN: Oshie nets OT winner with top-shelf snipe

 

"We'd take two, but we'll take the one [point]. It's a competitive game. Special teams were the difference. Obviously our power play wasn't good enough, and their power play was the difference." -- Wild forward Eric Staal

 

Need to know

Wild forward Zach Parise left 12:10 into the game and did not return after Capitals forward Tom Wilson caught him in the face with a high-stick. Boudreau said Parise is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. … Backstrom had three assists, giving him 60 this season. … Staal has 11 points (eight goals, three assists) in his past 10 games.

Video: WSH@MIN: Parise takes high stick, exits early

 

What's next

Wild: Host the Ottawa Senators on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; FS-N+, FS-WI, RDS2, TSN5, NHL.TV)

Capitals: At the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET; ALT, CSN-DC, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Ovechkin records hat trick, Oshie nets OT goal in win

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