Time to start the MVP talk for Alex Ovechkin, who scored his NHL-leading 28th goal, stood up for a teammate who got rammed into the boards, and led the Washington Capitals to their eighth straight win.
The Capitals also managed to play well with a lead for a change and enjoyed a rare dominating win over a team outside their division. The 5-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night left little doubt that Washington is again a force in the Eastern Conference.
''To get a decisive win against them tonight,'' forward Troy Brouwer said, ''it shows us that we belong where we are.''
Jack Hillen, Martin Erat, Marcus Johansson and Brouwer also scored, and Braden Holtby made 29 saves for the Capitals, who remained four points ahead of the Winnipeg Jets atop the Southeast Division with five games to play.
But it was Ovechkin who earned his captain's ''C'' against the Maple Leafs. There was his goal - a one-timer from the top ...