Ovechkin hat-trick leads Capitals past Maple Leafs

TORONTO (Reuters) - Alex Ovechkin registered his first hat-trick of the season to guide the Washington Capitals to a 4-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

The Russian opened the scoring in the first period by tipping home from the blueline and stretched the lead to 2-0 early in the third period with a wrist shot before completing his hat-trick into an empty net.

"They were hard-working goals and I will take them," Ovechkin told reporters. "It's a great building to play hockey in. It's just a good atmosphere. That's how we have to play, go to the net and find some rebounds."

Braden Holtby, in just his just his seventh NHL appearance made 35 saves stifling the Leafs offense and earning his fourth win.

"He played a really good game, give him credit," said Leafs center Tyler Bozak, who couldn't beat Holtby on three great opportunities. "I've heard of him. I knew he was a pretty good goalie but he came out and stoned us pretty good tonight."

Tim Brent gave the Maple Leafs some momentum when he pounced on a bouncing puck in front of the Capitals net to put his team 2-1 behind less than two minutes after Ovechkin's second goal.

Matt Hendricks restored Washington's two-goal lead near the mid-point of the third period on a breakaway, beating Maple Leafs goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere with a great deke to his backhand.

(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario; Editing by John O'Brien)