Ovechkin scores twice

Caps sweep season series

April 07, 2010|By Tarik El-Bashir | The Washington Post

PITTSBURGH — — Two-time NHL Most Valuable Player Alex Ovechkin scored twice in the third period Tuesday night, including an empty-net goal with less than a second left, to help the Washington Capitals clinch a season sweep over the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 6-3 victory at Mellon Arena.

"It's good for me mentally, with two games left before the playoffs," he said.

Ovechkin's goals were his 47th and 48th and moved him into a tie with Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who also scored Tuesday. Ovechkin moved into a tie with the Vancouver Canucks' Henrik Sedin for the NHL points lead, at 106.

"All our mind in this locker room is getting ready for the playoffs, not about personal goals and scoring leaders," Ovechkin said.

The Capitals improved to 4-0-0 against their longtime nemesis this season. Their previous best was a 6-0-1 record in 1984-85.

"It's nice that we did it," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "But I don't think it will mean a hill of beans if we meet them in the playoffs."

Goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 26 saves to record back-to-back wins for the first time since a four-game winning streak Nov. 28 to Dec. 7. His effort, though, was only a footnote on a night dominated by the Capitals' league-leading offense, which included a milestone goal by the team. Alexander Semin's first-period goal was his career-best 39th, and it gave Washington 300 for the season (not counting the team's five shootout clinching goals), the highest total in the NHL since 2005-06, when Ottawa had 312 and Detroit 301.

Semin opened the scoring at 13:00 of the first period. Mike Knuble stretched the lead to 2-0 with a shot that sneaked under Theo Fleury's pads. With Knuble in the penalty box moments later, Crosby made it 2-1 with a power-play goal. But a goal by Tomas Fleischmann 21 seconds later chased Fleury from the Pittsburgh net.

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