ANAHEIM, California — Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals drew a rare standing-room-only crowd in their only visit to Anaheim this season.
The three-time MVP put on a show, too.
Ovechkin scored twice in the first period to take over the NHL lead in goals and set up Andre Burakovsky's two scores during his 19th career four-point game, sending the Washington Capitals to a 5-3 victory over the Ducks on Sunday.
"We've got so many good players on the team, but of course, Ovi's one of the best," Burakovsky said after his first two-goal game in the NHL. "He's been really good this season, and his shot is incredible. So it's really important for us that Ovi's playing good. Those were two really important goals he scored at the beginning to keep us in the game."
Marcus Johansson got the go-ahead goal at 3:27 of the second period, and Justin Peters made 30 saves in his ninth start of the season. Braden Holtby, who leads all NHL goalies in games and minutes played, got the day off following Saturday night's 3-1 loss to the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.
"We should have been able to take a sample out of what L.A. did to them last night," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "All they did was finish checks and finish checks and wear them down. That's what we were supposed to do, but evidently, the game plan didn't work. Once we stopped finishing our checks, they got the mobility to move the puck and we couldn't stop them."
Andrew Cogliano had two goals and Corey Perry netted his team-high 24th for the two-time defending Pacific Division champion Ducks, who lost left wing Matt Beleskey and defenseman Sami Vatanen in the first period due to undisclosed injuries.
Both of Ovechkin's goals tied the score, the first coming 16 seconds after Cogliano opened the scoring. Nicklas Backstrom won a faceoff from Ryan Getzlaf deep in the Ducks zone and Ovechkin stopped the puck with his left skate before beating John Gibson with a 35-foot slap shot between the pads at 1:22 of the opening period.
Perry regained the lead for Anaheim at 5:53, beating Peters low to the glove side with a 30-foot wrist shot. Ovechkin responded with one-timer from the top of the left circle that beat Gibson to the glove side. It was the 36th goal for the Capitals' captain, putting him one ahead of Rick Nash of the New York Rangers.
It was the seventh time this season that Ovechkin scored the Capitals' first two goals, and the fifth time in the team's last 14 games. The five-time All-Star, who has led the NHL in goals four times during his 10-year career, has 20 in his last 22 games.
Ovechkin increased his overall total to 458 in the regular season — overtaking Detroit Red Wings great Alex Delvecchio for 54th on the career list.
"Ovechkin's a great player. Everybody knows who he is and how he plays," Boudreau said. "When he's on, he's hard to stop. And when you give him two goals early, he's going to feel it for the rest of the game."
Johansson gave the Capitals a 3-2 lead they did not relinquish, getting a long tape-to-tape pass on the fly from defenseman Matt Niskanen and beating Gibson low to the stick side with a 25-foot wrist shot.
"With the style they play, we gave them way too many easy goals," Cogliano said. "A lot of them were off the rush, and a couple of them were 2-on-1s. When you give opportunities like that to a skilled team, they beat you."
Another long lead pass by Ovechkin to Burakovsky set up the left wing's goal at 9:04 of the second, and Burakovsky made it 5-3 at 9:48 of the third with his ninth of the season at the end of a 2-on-1 break with Ovechkin.
"We know we can't trade chances with a track-meet team. We don't have that kind of team," Boudreau said. "And when you start trading chances, we're not going to be successful. It's mentioned almost every day. Our guys got caught up in it a little bit when we got behind."
NOTES: A moment of silence was observed in memory of former Ducks defenseman Steve Montador, who died Sunday at age 35. ... Ovechkin hasn't had a hat trick since Dec. 10, 2013, when he scored four goals against Tampa Bay's Ben Bishop in Washington's 6-5 shootout win. ... Ovechkin has nine goals in 11 career games against the Ducks — including a hat trick against Jean-Sebastien Giguere in his first game against them, a 3-2 victory on Jan. 13, 2006, at Anaheim. ... Boudreau has guided the Ducks and Capitals to a combined five division titles. Anaheim leads the Pacific by 11 points over San Jose with 25 games left. ... Boudreau was fired by the Capitals on Nov. 28, 2011, two days before he replaced Randy Carlyle in Anaheim. Since then, the Ducks are 146-70-29 in the regular season and Washington is 125-88-34.
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