After squeaking out victories for a week and a half, the Washington Capitals finally put together one of their best performances of the season.
The Capitals look to build on that victory and extend their winning streak to seven Friday night when they host a Carolina Hurricanes team that has lost the first four contests in the season series.
Washington (38-20-10) had to rally from a deficit in each of the first five victories of its winning streak, but no comeback was needed in Wednesday’s 5-0 win over Edmonton. Alex Ovechkin(notes) had two goals and an assist to reach 601 career points, while Eric Fehr(notes) scored twice in his return from a 22-game absence because of a shoulder injury.
“It’s nice not to have to worry in the last five minutes in a one-goal game,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I can’t remember the last time that happened.”
Boudreau would have to think back to a 3-0 win over Pittsburgh on Feb. 6 - a span of nine victories - for the last time the Capitals had won by more than one goal.
Washington, two points ahead of Tampa Bay for first place in the Southeast Division, finally got its power play working Wednesday, scoring twice with the man advantage after going 3 for 40 in its previous 14 games.
Ovechkin’s power-play goal in the second period was his first of the season at the Verizon Center, and the Capitals had two power-play goals in a game for the first time since a 6-0 win over the Lightning on Nov. 26.
“That was the first time we scored two power-play goals in a long time,” Fehr said. “It feels good to get that going. If we can get the PP going we’re going to win a lot of games.”
Seeing Ovechkin get on track already has provided a boost. He’s riding a six-game point streak and has six goals with 10 assists over the last 11 games.
Ovechkin recorded just his fourth multigoal game of the season Wednesday - he had 14 in 2009-10 - and the Capitals improved to 40-1-3 since the 2007-08 season when he scores at least twice.
The two-time Hart Trophy winner hasn’t had much luck finding the back of the net lately against the Hurricanes, but he’s had a hand in several goals.
Ovechkin’s three goals in 15 games against Carolina since the start of the 2008-09 season are his fewest versus any Eastern Conference opponent in that span, but his 22 assists against them are his most. He has one goal and six assists in four games against the Hurricanes this season.
The Capitals have won the last three over Carolina by 3-2 scores after winning the first meeting 3-0.
Carolina (31-26-10), in the mix for one of the final playoff spots in the East, arrives in Washington after a 3-2 overtime loss to Atlanta on Wednesday.
Erik Cole(notes) and Troy Bodie(notes) scored for the Hurricanes, who got off to another sluggish start. Carolina was down 2-0 heading into the first intermission Wednesday after trailing 2-1 through one period in Friday’s 5-2 loss to Chicago.
“We’ve got to get a little more concerted jump,” coach Paul Maurice said. “I don’t think we were nearly as aggressive on our forecheck or physically aggressive.”
Blog Coverage from SB Nation
Tom Poti D