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Alex Ovechkin's 1st hat trick in more than 2 years leads Capitals past Devils 5-1

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    New Jersey Devils goalie Johan Hedberg (1), from Sweden, blocks a shot by Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), from Russia, during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)The Associated Press

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    New Jersey Devils right wing Ilya Kovalchuk (17), from Russia, smiles after his goal in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)The Associated Press

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    New Jersey Devils right wing Ilya Kovalchuk (17), from Russia, skates with the puck as Washington Capitals right wing Joey Crabb (15) reaches for it during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)The Associated Press

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    New Jersey Devils goalie Johan Hedberg, right, from Sweden, watches the puck as Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), from Russia, and center Mike Ribeiro (9) combine on the attempt during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)The Associated Press

Alex Ovechkin produced his first hat trick in more than two years Saturday, leading the struggling Washington Capitals to a 5-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils.

Ovechkin entered the game with five goals in 16 games this season, only good enough to be tied for third on his own team, which began the day with a 5-10-1 record and 11 standings points, the fewest in the 30-team NHL.

But the two-time NHL MVP broke out in a big way, turning in his first three-goal game since a 4-1 victory at Toronto on Jan. 22, 2011.

Ilya Kovalchuk's goal with 37.5 seconds left in the second period tied the game for New Jersey, but Ovechkin put Washington ahead to stay 1:23 into the third.