WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Daniel Sedin scored a pair of goals to lead the Western Conference-leading Vancouver Canucks to a 4-2 victory over the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on Friday.

Sedin scored the eventual game-winner on a breakaway late in the second period, snapping a shot past Capitals goalie Semyon Varlamov low on the blocker side to make the score 3-1.

Jannik Hansen, who had two assists, created the opportunity poking the puck off the stick of Jason Chimera to Sedin behind the Washington defense.

"We know they're an elite team over there and we knew they're a team that likes to play in the offense a lot," Canucks center Ryan Kesler said.

"We wanted to come in here and play a really solid defensive game and generate turnovers and go the other way."

Sedin added the insurance goal into an empty net in the final minute of the third period.

The Capitals had opened the scoring in the first period on a breakaway goal by Matt Hendricks.

However, Vancouver defense partners Alexander Edler and Christian Ehrhoff both scored on low slapshots from the blueline to give the Canucks a 2-1 lead early in the second period before Sedin's first goal effectively sealed the contest.

Marcus Johansson's goal pulled the Capitals to within one near the middle of the third period but the hosts were unable to complete the comeback despite out-shooting the Canucks 11-5 in the final frame.

"The first two periods we didn't come out and play the way we wanted. You can't do that against good teams like Vancouver," Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom said. "The third period was good, but not good enough to get the win."

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