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Ovechkin shines as Capitals enjoy rare win against Sharks

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), of Russia, left, celebrates his goal with Tom Wilson, center, and Nicklas Backstrom (19), of Sweden, during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the San Jose Sharks, Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading 20th goal and assisted on another, helping the Washington Capitals snap their recent run of futility against the San Jose Sharks with a 4-1 victory Monday night.

The Capitals beat the Sharks for the fourth time in 18 meetings since Ovechkin entered the league in 2005-06. It's just Washington's second regulation win against San Jose in that time and first since Oct. 15, 2009. It ended a four-game skid in the series.

Halting the Sharks' recent mastery came at a cost: T.J. Oshie left in the second period with an upper-body injury and didn't return. As Oshie was already engaged with Logan Couture and falling down along the boards, he took Joe Thornton's backside to the head.

Tom Wilson took exception to Thornton's hit and fought him in the third period of a chippy game that also included a fight between Alex Chiasson and Barclay Goodrow.

Before those tensions rose, Ovechkin continued his climb up the career list with his 578th goal, passing Hall of Famer Mark Recchi for 20th. He's the 11th player in NHL history to score at least 20 goals in each of his first 13 seasons.

Ovechkin, who rooted for the Sharks while growing up in Moscow, turned several defenders inside out and made a perfect pass to set up Brett Connolly's power-play goal. Devante Smith-Pelly and Jakub Vrana also scored for Washington, which has won two in a row and six of eight.

Capitals backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 24 saves to pick up his first career victory against the Sharks. San Jose's Martin Jones allowed four goals on 29 shots in his second game back from injury, and Timo Meier scored his first goal in eight games and third of the season.

NOTES: Connolly has goals in back-to-back games since returning from being a healthy scratch for the previous two. ... Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said D Paul Martin is close to returning from an undisclosed injury that has kept him out since Oct. 12. ... Capitals F Travis Boyd made his NHL debut, replacing Chandler Stephenson, who's day-to-day with an upper-body injury. ... F Andre Burakovsky rejoined the Capitals for their morning skate as he works back from October surgery to repair his broken left thumb. He hopes to return within the next week.


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