WASHINGTON (AP)—Alex Ovechkin’s slump is over.
After scoring one goal in his previous eight games, Ovechkin had a hat trick in the Washington Capitals’ six-goal first period, and he finished with five points in the 10-2 victory over the Boston Bruins Monday.
Ovechkin hadn’t scored in seven consecutive games before notching a goal in Saturday’s 3-2 loss against Toronto. He broke loose against the Bruins with three goals and two assists to spark Washington, which jumped to a 6-0 lead on the way to a season-high 10 goals.
“Today, everything just went to the net,” Ovechkin said. “You are going to score (in) lots of games, and some you (won’t). I always tell myself not to think about goals and to just play how I can.”
Ovechkin’s three goals give him a league-leading 52 and made him the first to 50 in the NHL this season. He’s the third player in franchise history to reach that mark twice, and this ties a career high.
He was credited with a fourth goal in the third period, but official scorers changed it later giving him an assist on Brooks Laich’s power-play goal that made it 9-2.
Ovechkin’s two assists gave him 38 on the season as Washington snapped Boston’s six-game winning streak.
Ovechkin seemed more concerned the Capitals continue to play with the intensity they showed against Boston, especially since they’re in the hunt for a playoff spot.
“Just wait, we have lots of games left, and one game can mean nothing,” Ovechkin said. “We just have to continue to do what we did today, and try to play the same way on Wednesday.”
Washington coach Bruce Boudreau was confident Ovechkin would get revved up again.
“When you go in an eight-game scoring slump, and you’re that good, you’re going to start scoring again,” Boudreau said. “You just can’t hold him back like you can’t hold (Sidney) Crosby back and (Evgeni) Malkin back for any length of time. Those guys are good hockey players.”
The Capitals scored four power-play goals.
Newly acquired Matt Cooke got the big first period started by scoring his first goal with the Capitals 32 seconds into the game. Bradley and Laich also scored in the period.
Donald Brashear scored the other Washington goal.
Goalie Cristobal Huet earned his second win in two starts since the Capitals got him from Montreal last week, stopping 20 shots in two periods before coming out after suffering some mild back spasms.
Boston goalie Tim Thomas started and wound up being pulled twice, giving up seven goals, after often playing well against Ovechkin and the Capitals.
“It’s really tough to take,” Thomas said. “It was embarrassing. On the other hand, what’s the difference? If you lost 3-2 or you lost like that, we’re still in the playoffs as of now. You definitely should learn from it, but you can’t get too far down.”
^Notes: Dennis Maruk and Peter Bondra are the two other Washington players to reach the 50-goal mark twice Backstrom’s goal was his first since Jan. 17 Boston’s Marco Sturm extended his point streak to eight games by scoring a second-period goal.