OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators were happy to keep Alexander Ovechkin mostly in check.
Dany Heatley scored his 31st goal and Martin Gerber made 35 saves to lead Ottawa to a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night.
Heatley gave the Senators their second two-goal lead 10:31 into the second, scoring on a power play less than a minute and a half after Washington cut the lead to 2-1 on Ovechkin's 4-on-4 goal.
"He shoots the puck every chance he gets and he's good at it," Heatley said. "We held him to one tonight."
Ovechkin took over the league lead with his 32nd goal.
"I thought we played very well today. We had lots of chances," Ovechkin said. "We played hard, we skated fast and we checked, but we didn't score. That was the key."
Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza scored in the first for Ottawa, which lost 3-1 in Montreal one night earlier.
"I thought 5-on-5 we played really well, especially after playing the late game (Monday)," Alfredsson said. "We've got to be happy."
Donald Brashear scored his second goal of the season 3:02 into the third as the Capitals once again drew within one.
Gerber, who started for just the second time in 16 games, managed to keep the puck out of the net when Dainius Zubrus crashed into him while driving the net on a power-play opportunity 10:24 into the third.
"I had a pretty good edge," Gerber said. "I kind of saw him coming and he lost his edge."
The Swiss goalie improved to 5-1-0 in the six starts he has made since yielding the starting job to Ray Emery in mid-November.
"He's hung in there and bounced back," Heatley said. "He's practiced so hard when Razor's been playing and we had a lot of confidence in him tonight. He was huge."
Olaf Kolzig stopped 35 shots for Washington, which has lost six of eight.
Alfredsson opened the scoring 9:51 in with his 18th goal. The Senators captain dished off to defenseman Tom Preissing before moving to the point to receive Heatley's setup pass. Alfredsson took advantage of Chris Kelly's screen in front of Kolzig to beat the Capitals' goalie with a shot between his pads.
Spezza made it 2-0 at 16:53 with his 20th goal, his first goal in three games since returning from a knee injury. Spezza steered a loose puck off Peter Schaefer's wild shot into an open right side for his first goal since Dec. 16.
"It was kind of a broken play and I was in the right place, at the right time," Spezza said.
Ovechkin scored 9:04 into the second during a 4-on-4 after Ottawa defenseman Andrej Meszaros was assessed a diving penalty for embellishing a hooking call against Washington's Shaone Morrisonn.
Heatley restored the Senators' two-goal lead moments later when he put his own rebound in off the inside of Kolzig's right pad during a power play at 10:31.
Many fans among the sellout crowd of 19,178 on Canadian Forces Appreciation Night wore red as a show of solidarity with the country's troops. About 1,500 members of Canada's armed forces wearing olive and military blue uniforms took in the game, the majority in Scotiabank Place's lower bowl.
Lieutenant-Commander Gordon Thomson sang both national anthems accompanied by the Central Band of the Canadian Forces. ... Brashear scored his first goal of the season eight games earlier in a 6-1 win in Philadelphia on Jan. 7. ... Senators C Mike Fisher assisted on Spezza's goal as he returned after missing 14 games because of a knee injury. ... Spezza had 19 goals last season and a career high 22 in 2003-04, his first full season.