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DENVER – Alex Ovechkin scored in a three-goal second period and the Washington Capitals won their franchise-record 55th game of the season by beating the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 on Friday night.
Jay Beagle, Ovechkin and Jason Chimera all had goals within a 5:26 span to help Braden Holtby notch his 47th victory of the season. The Capitals goaltender is one away from matching Martin Brodeur's mark for most wins in a single season.
The loss was costly for the Avalanche, who trail Minnesota by five points for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Wild lost earlier in the night, but Colorado couldn't capitalize.
Gabriel Landeskog scored with 5:39 remaining to make it a one-goal game. Colorado pulled Semyon Varlamov with around 2:20 left, only to have T.J. Oshie add an empty-netter with 9.9 seconds left to wrap up the win.
Jarome Iginla scored his 609th career goal in the second period. He's one away from tying Bobby Hull for 16th place on the all-time list.
Washington doesn't have much at stake after already locking up the Presidents' Trophy as the top regular-season team in the NHL. But the Capitals played like the more desperate team and had more than double the shots.
Beagle scored the first goal of the game at 8:50 of the second period when he took advantage of a turnover by defenseman Chris Bigras. Beagle stole the puck and jammed it in past Varlamov's foot.
The Capitals were just heating up.
Ovechkin scored his league-leading 45th goal of the season on the power play. Just 1:19 later, Chimera tipped in a shot past Varlamov, a former first-round pick by Washington who was acquired by Colorado in a 2012 deal.
Holtby stole the show in the second period by making one sprawling save after another — the fans even chanted "Holtby, Holtby" on several occasions. He finished with 17 saves.
There was a scary moment early in the second period when defenseman Nikita Zadorov was checked hard by Tom Wilson behind the Avalanche goal. Zadorov stayed down on the ice for a few minutes before skating off with the help of the trainers. He left with a head injury.
Varlamov was kept busy in the opening period as he stopped 15 shots, including one from in close by Justin Williams. Varlamov caught a little bit of luck, too, with Marcus Johansson's shot hitting the post moments into the game.
Colorado had Matt Duchene back on the ice after missing six games because of a knee injury. He's the team's leading scorer with a career-high 29 goals.
Although the Capitals don't have anything to play for as far as the standings are concerned, coach Barry Trotz doesn't plan on resting players. He will cut down on minutes, but doesn't want them to lose their edge.
"I do value rest. Rest is a weapon at the right time," Trotz said. "But too much rest is absolutely asking for disaster. You just can't crank it up again."
NOTES: Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom didn't play after being banged up in his last game. Trotz said it's for precautionary reasons, but isn't sure if Backstrom will play Saturday at Arizona. ... The Capitals have 26 road wins, tied with San Jose for most in the league. ... Brodeur had an NHL-record 48 wins during the 2006-07 season for New Jersey. ... Avalanche F Nathan MacKinnon remains sidelined with a knee injury. There's no timetable for MacKinnon to begin skating again, coach Patrick Roy said. ... Broncos coach Gary Kubiak was in attendance.