Washington, DC – Alex Ovechkin registered a hat trick and had an assist as the Washington Capitals downed the Florida Panthers, 4-3, on Saturday.
Mike Ribeiro added a goal and an assist for the Capitals, who remained tied with the Jets for first place in the Southeast Division. Braden Holtby had 27 saves in the win.
"Now that we are healthy and we are playing our game it is hard to stop us," Ovechkin said. "We just have to be foucsed. When we are focusing, our system is going to work."
Jacob Markstrom had 27 saves but allowed all four goals for the Panthers, who scored all of their goals in the third period. Tomas Kopecky had a pair of goals and Peter Mueller lit the lamp once in the setback.
"It doesn't matter if were are down four, six or 10, or if we are up four. We should be playing the same way at all times," Kopecky said.
Ovechkin scored his first goal on the power play with 4:15 left in the first. Ribiero took a pass on the goal line and quickly dished it to Ovechkin, who easily put it in the net for an early 1-0 lead.
Mike Green's slap shot hit off the post, but Ribeiro was there to clean up the miss 43 seconds into the middle session.
Ovechkin used an incredible play to get past a Panthers defender and went top shelf to beat Markstrom not even two minutes later. Ovechkin flipped the puck up ice on the right side then burst past the left side of the defender and beat him to the puck. He then turned and fired off the shot for a 3-0 lead.
Ovechkin added a power-play goal for the hat trick with 5:38 left to make it 4-0.
Kopecky and Mueller added goals less than two minutes apart for the Panthers in the third, cutting the gap to 4-2. Kopecky added a tip-in with 33 seconds left to account for the final margin.
Ovechkin has 14 goals in his last 13 games ... Ovechkin has 12 career hat tricks ... Florida had won three straight ... The Panthers will welcome Ottawa to town on Sunday.