Posted April 10, 2013 on AP on Fox
The puck keeps going in for Alex Ovechkin, and the Washington Capitals have used his goal-scoring binge to surge to the top of the Southeast Division. Ovechkin looks to lead Washington to its sixth straight victory Thursday night when it hosts a Carolina Hurricanes team that has gone from the top of the division to near the bottom of the Eastern Conference in less than a month. The Capitals (21-17-2) are 5-0-0 in April and Ovechkin has eight goals in that span, giving him 26 on the season and moving him into a tie for first in the NHL with Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos. Ovechkin scored for the sixth time in three games Tuesday night as the Capitals won 3-2 at Montreal. Washington stayed two points ahead of Winnipeg atop the Southeast, with a game in hand. "It's big two points for us right now," said two-time Hart Trophy winner Ovechkin, whose level of play looks to be back near its peak after dipping the last two seasons. "We beat a team in front of us (in the standings). "We know we can play against good teams. If we play hard and play our system it gives us results." The center on Ovechkin's line, Nicklas Backstrom, picked up two assists Tuesday and has 11 points - all assists - in the last five games. Eric Fehr and Jack Hillen also scored for Washington, which is 9-1-1 in its last 11. Hillen's goal gave the Capitals a 3-1 lead with less than 15 minutes to go in the game, but they had to hold on for the win after allowing the Canadiens to score with just over three minutes remaining. "We knew they were going to make a push, which they did," Capitals coach Adam Oates said. "The building gets electric and it gets hard to play here. It's great for the guys to fight through that and experience that, because it's going to help down the road." After a 4-0 win at Washington on March 12, Carolina held a three-point lead over Winnipeg for first place in the Southeast. A 1-12-1 tailspin has followed, and the Hurricanes (16-21-2) are now 10 points behind the Capitals in the division and in 14th in the East - two points in front of last-place Florida. Carolina has lost six straight in regulation - three shy of the team record - after falling 5-3 to Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. "I don't want to necessarily make excuses or say we're not getting bounces or things aren't necessarily going our way," defenseman Justin Faulk said. "Obviously, they're not. We're not getting in the win column. But we're working. We've just got to find a way to get by this slump, I guess." It's easy to spot the turning point of the season. Carolina took a 2-0 lead in the first period against hated division rival Washington on March 14, but it's been all downhill after that. The Capitals rallied for a 3-2 win that started this 14-game stretch in which the Hurricanes have been outscored 56-23 during a slump that has lasted for nearly one-third of the shortened 48-game season. The stat sheet gives plenty of reason for their struggles. Their power-play unit, a season-long problem, ranks 26th in the league while their penalty kill is 28th. They're throwing plenty of pucks at the net - the let-it-rip Hurricanes rank second in the NHL with an average of 32 shots - but are only averaging 2.6 goals while giving up 3.2 per game, third-worst in the league. "I think every night for the last four to five games, we've come ready to compete and really, we're just coming out on the wrong end," forward Riley Nash said. "It's tough to watch because all these guys compete so hard and the leadership's there. It's just really tough." Washington has won three of four meetings this season, with Ovechkin registering three goals and three assists.

Ovechkin Strengthens Hart Trophy Case

Alex Ovechkin has certainly done his hopes of winning a third Hart Trophy as NHL MVP no harm with a sensational scoring run, with his latest goal coming in the Washington Capitals 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. The Capitals are 5-0-0 in April and Ovechkin has eight goals during that winning run. The centre on his line, Nicklas Backstrom, picked up two assists and has 11...

Eating Crow and Alex Ovechkin's Transformation

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Fantasy Hockey: Alex Ovechkin is back on top

The Washington Capitals are an impressive 8-1-1 in their last 10 games, and now  once again sit atop the NHL Southeast Division with 42 points. As usual,  the play of Alex Ovechkin has a lot to do with this recent surge towards a playoff spot for his club. Over the last 14 contests hockey fans have witnessed vintage Ovechkin, notching 16 goals and seven assists for a total of...

Alex Ovechkin dangles and snipes against Montreal Canadiens

Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin has been the hottest player in the league recently and now has 17 goals in 14 games and is tied with Steven Stamkos for the league lead in goals with 26.  On Tuesday night he dangled Montreal Canadiens forward Michael Ryder and then buried a nice shot past Carey Price.  The Capitals beat the Canadiens last night 3-2 and are currently in...

Spring Puck Surprise Winners Meet Alex Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin met with the Spring Puck Surprise winners after the Caps game.

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Enter the Washington Capitals, the white-hot Washington Capitals, riding Alex Ovechkin's hand on their way to a playoff spot. We know they play inspired hockey here, the Caps do. Ovechkin considers it his favorite place to play. He who also once suggested Andrei Markov was the best defenseman he's ever played against-- a battle that's sure to take centre stage tonight...

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The puck keeps going in for Alex Ovechkin. The league's co-leader in goals finished a spectacular play with a tricky shot that fooled Montreal goalie Carey Price on Tuesday as the Washington Capitals beat the Canadiens 3-2 to extend their winning string to five games. The Capitals are a perfect 5-0-0 in April and Ovechkin has eight goals in that span. The center on his line...

Tim Wallace absolutely levels Alexander Ovechkin

After Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson saved the day in the first period, Carolina Hurricanes forward Tim Wallace absolutely leveled Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin during the 3rd period.  Ovechkin took the puck hard to the net but unfortunately had his head down.  After Ovechkin made a move around Tim Gleason, Wallace planted a shoulder directly into Ovechkin...

Capitals-Canadiens Preview

Alex Ovechkin's game had grown so stale and incomplete that, a year ago, he was being benched late in games. The two-time MVP's performances are back to being predictable - in a way the Washington Capitals have to love. After scoring five times in his last two games to grab a share of the NHL goal-scoring lead, Ovechkin tries to help the Capitals remain alone atop the Southeast...

Weingold’s Wrap-up Of The Week (April 1-April 9)

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Capitals 3, Canadiens 2

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