Alexander Ovechkin goal breaks tie, leads Capitals to win in Ottawa
OTTAWA (AP) — All Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals' offense needed to click was a little more open ice.
Ovechkin scored one of three straight goals by Washington in the third period and helped lead the Capitals to a 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night.
Nicklas Backstrom tied it at 2 with his 10th goal on a power play 9:45 into the third and earned his 19th assist on Ovechkin's spectacular go-ahead goal at 13:50.
Ovechkin's ninth of the season — but just his second in 13 games — was the first of two goals scored by the Capitals in 15 seconds as the teams skated 4-on-4.
"You could see one coming in him. He had that desire to score," said Troy Brouwer, who scored at 14:05 to make it 4-2.
John Carlson, who had two assists, scored into an empty net in the final minute for his third point of the night.
"We had lots of chances, but we weren't scoring, so you never know," Capitals coach Dale Hunter said. "We went four on four and we broke it open there."
Jeff Halpern scored early in the second and Tomas Vokoun made 31 saves for Washington, which has won two of three, including an overtime victory over Ottawa on Saturday.
Milan Michalek drew the Senators within one with his team-leading 17th goal on a power play at 16:08.
Craig Anderson made 39 saves, and Erik Condra and Nick Foligno scored second-period goals for Ottawa, which has lost three of four (1-2-1).
Backstrom took a return pass from Brooks Laich and fired a shot past Anderson for the tying goal midway through the third.
Ovechkin made it 3-2 with a huge individual effort. He carried the puck down the left side, behind the net, and back along the right side before slamming on the brakes and turning around to drive a slap shot past Anderson.
"They've got a pretty good squad over there, a lot of firepower," Anderson said.
Ottawa's Chris Neil was given a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct 8:12 into the second after he dropped to the ice following a spear by Ovechkin.
"I'm not that kind of player," said Ovechkin, who denied spearing Neil. "I was surprised it was happening."
The two were skating behind the play, after Neil delivered a solid check in the corner, when Ovechkin jabbed his stick blade into the Senators right wing's midsection. Neil went to the dressing room, and Foligno served his penalty. No penalty was called on Ovechkin, and Neil returned moments later.
"I finished my check down in the corner and obviously he didn't like taking the hit," Neil said. "We were skating up the ice and he almost — it was like a pitchfork right in the gut, so it's frustrating. No call on the play and I end up getting the penalty on it. Obviously, people have seen the replay on it and they see that he catches me.
"We make mistakes out there and so do the refs, so it's part of the game. Hopefully the league will review it and make a fair call."
Condra drew Ottawa even at 1 when he scored, despite being hauled down by defenseman John Erskine.
Foligno snaked his way across the goal mouth to give Ottawa a 2-1 lead with his ninth goal at 17:54. He patiently held onto the puck, reached around Vokoun, and tucked it in shortly after the Capitals killed a pair of overlapping penalties that gave the Senators a two-man advantage for 51 seconds.
Vokoun stopped Michalek on a breakaway just over 5 minutes into the third.