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.
Hats Off To Ovechkin
For the second time in his three-year career, Alexander Ovechkin hit the 50-goal mark. This time he did so in style. Besides Wayne Gretzky, Ovechkin is the only player in NHL history to reach 50 and post a hat trick in the same game. Gretzky did so three times.
*Scored five goals
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."
Ovechkin's linemate Nicklas Backstrom added three assists in the first period and scored once in the second period. Laich and Matt Bradley scored two goals apiece, and Eric Fehr added three assists.
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.
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."
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.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Verizon Center Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Referees: Don Koharski, Fred L'Ecuyer Linesmen: Lonnie Cameron, Jonny Murray
Attendance: 17,189 (93.4% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Matt Cooke (8)
Assists: Jeff Schultz, Matt Bradley
Alex Ovechkin (50)
Assists: Nicklas Backstrom, Shaone Morrisonn
Alex Ovechkin (51)
Assists: Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Poti
Matt Bradley (4)
Assists: Matt Cooke, David Steckel
Alex Ovechkin (52)
(Power Play) Assists: Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom
Brooks Laich (14)
(Power Play) Assists: Viktor Kozlov, Eric Fehr
Dennis Wideman (10)
(Power Play) Assists: Marc Savard, Zdeno Chara
Nicklas Backstrom (10)
Assists: Alex Ovechkin, Tom Poti
Donald Brashear (5)
Assists: Eric Fehr, John Erskine
Marco Sturm (23)
Assists: Shane Hnidy, Glen Metropolit
Brooks Laich (15)
(Power Play) Assists: Alex Ovechkin, Eric Fehr
Matt Bradley (5)
(Power Play) Assists: Mike Green, Matt Cooke