for this game

Ovechkin's hat trick lifts Caps over Leafs

Jan 23, 2011 - 6:49 AM
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Alex Ovechkin tallied his first hat trick of the season in Washington's 4-1 victory over Toronto at the Air Canada Centre.

Matt Hendricks scored the other goal for the Capitals, who have recorded points in four straight games. Nicklas Backstrom notched two assists for the victors.

Braden Holtby recorded his forth win thanks to a 35-save effort.

"It was a huge game for us," Holtby said. "We played a good road game and got a win out of it."

Tim Brent posted the lone goal for Toronto, which has lost four of its last five. Jean-Sebastien Giguere surrendered three goals on 30 shots.

The Caps took a 1-0 lead at the 14:27 mark of the first period when Jeff Schultz ripped a shot from the right point. The screening Ovechkin tipped the puck past Giguere for just his 17th goal of the season.

Holtby was solid in the net for the first 20 minutes, which included a great save with 30 seconds remaining in the second when he turned aside Phil Kessel's shot from in tight to keep the Maple Leafs off the board.

Ovechkin tallied his second of the game after Mike Green ripped a shot from the right point. The Russian controlled the puck off of his foot and tapped it to his forehand before sending a wrister between Giguere's legs for a 2-0 lead just 72 seconds into the final frame.

Less than two minutes later, Toronto cut the lead in half, 2-1, when Brent swept in a Jay Rosehill deflected shot to spoil Holtby's shut out.

The lead was back to two at the 8:14 mark of the third thanks to Hendricks' aggressive play off of a defensive zone faceoff. He poked the puck forward after the draw and raced out to a breakaway where his deke burned Giguere, which set up an easy backhand into the open net.

Holtby kept the score that way just under two minutes with a stabbing glove save. Ovechkin completed the hat trick with an empty netter with 24 seconds left in the contest.

"I think we played better than the score reflected tonight. We played hard," Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf said.

Game Notes

It was Ovechkin's 10th career hat trick and his first multi-goal game since October 30...Toronto fell to 10-11-4 on home ice this season...Washington is 11-9-3 as the guest this year and snapped a three-game losing streak in Toronto...Neither teams were able to score on the power play. The Leafs had three chances to the Caps' two.