x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

'Awesome' Ovechkin leads Capitals to 14th win in a row

His hat-trick and key assist in the overtime victory over Penguins leaves Washington three short of matching record of winning streak of 17 wins.

The Capitals' Alex Ovechkin sends Pittsburgh's Sydney Crosby crashing to the ice.
The Capitals' Alex Ovechkin sends Pittsburgh's Sydney Crosby crashing to the ice.

The Washington Capitals secured their 14th successive victory with a thrilling 5-4 overtime victory against Sidney Crosby's Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday night. Alex Ovechkin scored a hat-trick for Washington and also assisted on Mike Knubl's winning goal as the home team came back from 4-1 down to win.

"It was what people pay to see, when the superstars shine," said the Washington coach, Bruce Boudreau. "There's tension, and there's excitement, and there's physical play, and there's passion on both sides. That's what hockey is all about." The Russian's three-goal burst gave him a league-high 42 goals, pulling away from Crosby after the Pittsburgh centre had tied him at 39 by scoring a pair in the first period. The robust crowd that braved atrocious travel conditions went delirious and threw dozens of red hats on the ice when Ovechkin tied the game with less than nine minutes to play.

"Ovie was crazy. He was awesome. He took the team on his back and he carried us," said Eric Fehr, who scored Washington's other goal. "That's what we needed, and he was wonderful." Ovechkin's power-play shot hit the post in overtime, allowing Knuble to poke home the winner. However, Pittsburgh were unhappy that they were a player down when the goal was scored. Their defenceman Brooks Orpik said Washington's Alexander Semin took a dive to get a high-sticking penalty in the extra period. "He does it all the time. The kid's a baby," said Orpik, who drew a game misconduct from the pen- alty box because he kept complaining to officials."He does it all game long. I've got zero respect for the kid."

Washington's winning streak equalled the 1929-30 Boston Bruins for third longest in NFL history and is three short of the record of 17, set by the Penguins in April 1993. In Sunday's other match, the Boston Bruins ended a 10-game losing streak with a 3-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Marco Sturm scored twice for Boston while Tuukka Rask made 36 saves."Our goaltender was unbelievable," said Claude Julien, the Bruins coach. "Whenever they had the great chances, he made the big saves."

* With agencies