Washington at Columbus

Ovechkin ups NHL-leading goal total to 45, wins it for Caps in OT


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Alexander Ovechkin and the young Washington Capitals are maturing -- and that is definitely not good news for the rest of the NHL.

Ovechkin padded his NHL-leading goal total by scoring twice, including the winner in overtime, to lead the Capitals back from a two-goal deficit to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 on Tuesday night.

"It doesn't matter what the score is -- 2-0, 4-0 -- you've just got to play," the Russian superstar said. "We just have to believe in ourselves. We know we can win the game. It doesn't matter what happens. This was a big game for the young guys. We're just growing up."

Ovechkin netted a low, hard shot from the right circle 2:28 into the overtime after taking a cross-ice pass from Tom Poti. It was his 45th of the season.

Poti, who tied it with 6:53 left in regulation, and Alexander Semin also had goals for the Capitals.

"I'm having a tough time scoring but I think I'm playing really well defensively and helping the team," said Poti, who scored his first goal. "It's a huge two points tonight."

Washington started the night in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, just three points behind Southeast Division co-leaders Carolina and Atlanta.

Rick Nash scored two goals -- one on a franchise-first three-on-five disadvantage and the other when a referee got tangled with a Washington defender -- for the Blue Jackets, on a season-worst four-game losing skid. Jason Chimera also scored.

The loss could be particularly costly for the Blue Jackets, involved in their first playoff race. Starting goaltender Pascal Leclaire was run into by two players late in the second period and had to be helped off the ice. He came away with a bruised neck and will not travel with the team on Wednesday when it leaves for Phoenix and San Jose.

With the score tied at 2 early in the third period, Nash crossed the blue line with the puck just as defenseman Shaone Morrisonn collided with referee Bill McCreary, effectively taking Morrisonn out of the play. Nash skated around the pileup and beat goaltender Brent Johnson on the stick side for his second of the game and 28th of the season.

Morrisonn slammed his stick to the ice in anger after the goal.

That emotion contrasted with Ovechkin's after he scored the winner. Making his first appearance with the Capitals in Columbus, he skated to the corner and leaped into the air and off the glass in a solitary celebration before his teammates could mob him.

"I thought he struggled more than I've seen him in the first period," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "He looked tired. I asked him if he was OK and he said he was. He started coming on, getting stronger as the game went on. His shot is just so deadly, that wrist shot of his. I've been here 32 games now and it amazes me every day."

Nash opened the scoring near the end of Washington's lengthy two-man advantage in the first period, smothering Nicklas Backstrom's pass and outracing Backstrom and Ovechkin before beating Johnson. A Columbus player had never scored on a three-on-five disadvantage in the franchise's first seven years and 547 games.

After Chimera made it 2-0, Ovechkin skated up the left wing to the top of the circle, his hard shot eluding Leclaire.

Leclaire, leading the NHL with eight shutouts, was hurt on a Capitals rush when he was hit hard by teammate Jan Hejda and Capitals left wing Quintin Laing at the 15:22 mark of the second. Laing was assessed a minor penalty for goaltender interference.

On the first shot Fredrik Norrena faced after replacing Leclaire, Semin scored on a nifty backhander.

Nash's referee-assisted goal made it 3-2 before Poti beat Norrena on a shot inside the near post.

Ovechkin, a veteran at only 22, was the difference.

"I thought we did a good job on him and he still got two goals," Columbus defenseman Rostislav Klesla said. "He's just a special player, having a great year."


  • The Capitals welcomed former first-round pick RW Eric Fehr back with the club for the first time since Feb. 21, 2007, after missing 10 months with a back injury.
  • The short-handed goal was Nash's fourth of his career, third this season.
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Alexander Ovechkin scores twice, including the game winner in overtime for Washington.  (AP)
Alexander Ovechkin scores twice, including the game winner in overtime for Washington. (AP)
Related Links
Washington  (25-24-5) «02114
Columbus (25-23-7)20103
Three Stars
A. Ovechkin

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
R. Nash

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
T. Poti

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1

Related Video

Scoring Summary
17:35Short - Rick Nash (27), Wrist Shot, Unassisted.
18:16Jason Chimera (9), Tip-In. Assist: Michael Peca, Rostislav Klesla
13:34Alex Ovechkin (44), Snap Shot. Assist: Nicklas Backstrom
18:13Alexander Semin (13), Wrist Shot. Assist: Viktor Kozlov, Tomas Fleischmann
04:02Rick Nash (28), Wrist Shot. Assist: Manny Malhotra
13:07Tom Poti (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Brooks Laich, Jeff Schultz
02:28Alex Ovechkin (45), Wrist Shot. Assist: Tom Poti, Shaone Morrisonn
Penalty Summary
15:36Foote, 2 min, Roughing
15:54Tollefsen, 2 min, Hooking
19:13Morrisonn, 2 min, Holding the Stick
19:39Gordon, 2 min, Holding
09:53Brashear, 2 min, High-Sticking
15:22Laing, 2 min, Goaltender Interference
05:57Russell, 2 min, Boarding
Shots On Goal
Brent Johnson 62:24283
Pascal Leclaire35:22231
Fredrik Norrena27:06103
Game Information
Attendance - 14450
Referees - Bill McCreary, Rob Martell
Linesmen - Scott Cherrey, Ryan Galloway
Other Games
Det 3 Final
Min 2
Van 2 Final
Dal 3
TB 5 Final
StL 4
Ott 3 Final
Mon 4
LA 4 Final
Pho 3 Final
Cal 4
Fla 8 Final
Tor 0
Car 0 Final
Nash 1
Phi 3 Final
Atl 2
Buf 4 Final
Bos 2
Ana 3 Final