Ovechkin leads Caps to 14th successive victory

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Washington Capitals secured their 14th successive victory with a hat-trick from Alex Ovechkin and a game-winning goal from Mike Knuble that sank the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4 in overtime on Sunday.

Ovechkin delivered a spectacular hat-trick and assisted on the winning score that came at 2:49 in the extra session. The league-leading Capitals (40-12-6) needed four unanswered goals for their latest triumph after trailing 4-1 in the second period.

"This is what people pay to see," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau told reporters. "The superstars shined and there is tension and excitement and physical play. You could see the passion on both sides. This is what hockey is all about."

Eric Fehr started the rally with a score late in the second and Ovechkin netted two goals in the third to tie the game and extend his NHL-leading goal total to 42.

Just behind him is Sidney Crosby, who gave the Penguins (35-22-1) a 2-0 advantage with a pair of scores in the first.

Ovechkin put Washington on the board at 9:01 in the second, but Jordan Staal converted twice in a span of 1:24 to build the Pittsburgh lead.

Following Staal's second score the teams had a big scrum near the Capitals' net.

The Capitals knocked off the Penguins for the second straight time in a rematch of last year's best-of-seven Eastern Conference semi-finals won 4-3 by Pittsbugh.

Washington's 14-game winning streak is the longest in the NHL since Pittsburgh set the record with a 17-game streak in 1993.

Amidst snow storms in Washington, Crosby and Ovechkin reprised their rivalry as the two faces of the NHL.

With his scores in the first Crosby briefly tied Ovechkin for the league lead in goals. But Ovechkin had the last laugh striking twice with two wristers in the third and setting up Knuble with a shot that hit the post in overtime.

"It is always intense and people expect and emotional and intense game when these two teams play each other," Crosby said. "I think that is just the result."

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Justin Palmer)