Ovechkin shines as Caps snap Elliott’s streak, beat Flames

WASHINGTON — Alex Ovechkin had a goal and two assists, T.J. Oshie scored his 30th of the season and the NHL-leading Washington Capitals defeated the surging Calgary Flames 4-2 on Tuesday night.

The top line of Ovechkin, Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom dominated all game. Ovechkin led all players with a season-high 11 shots, finally beating Flames goaltender Brian Elliott late in the third period for his 29th goal.

Evgeny Kuznetsov and Kevin Shattenkirk also scored, and Backstrom had three assists as the Capitals snapped Elliott’s franchise-record winning streak at 11 games. Elliott kept his team in it by stopping 36 shots as Calgary lost for just the fifth time in 22 games.

Playing his 300th career game, counterpart Braden Holtby celebrated his bobblehead night by making 29 saves for Washington, which has 102 points.

Sean Monahan and former Capitals winger Troy Brouwer scored for the Flames.

Despite the Flames being the NHL’s best team since Jan. 26, coach Glen Gulutzan saw this game as a challenge because of the Capitals’ ability to adapt their game to any style. With Ovechkin flying around the ice, Washington showed off its speed and physicality to win its first game since clinching a playoff spot Saturday at Tampa Bay.

Kuznetsov’s goal 6:47 in marked the 51st time the Capitals scored first this season, and they improved to 39-7-5 in those games. They had some moments of weakness, such as Monahan’s 24th goal of the season on a 2-on-1 with Johnny Gaudreau in the first period and a breakdown that led to a short-handed rush by Calgary’s Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik in the second that Holtby stopped with a highlight-reel sliding pad save.

But the top line of Ovechkin, Backstrom and Oshie was in peak form. Following up his hat trick on Saturday, Oshie finished off a perfect pass from Ovechkin for his career-high 30th goal, and the linemates contributed to Shattenkirk’s first with Washington since he arrived from St. Louis in a trade-deadline deal.

Ovechkin scored on a power play in the final minutes on his final shot of the game.

NOTES: Elliott’s 11-game streak tied Mike Vernon for the longest in franchise history. … Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk served the first half of his two-game suspension for elbowing Kings D Drew Doughty in the face Sunday. … Only Hall of Famer Ken Dryden has more victories in his first 300 games than Holtby, 193 to 186. … Oshie, Shattenkirk and Elliott played together with the St. Louis Blues for four seasons from 2010-11 through 2014-15. … Brouwer’s goal was his first point in six games against the Capitals.


Flames: Visit the Nashville Predators on Thursday.

Capitals: Host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday in a matchup between two of the top teams in the Metropolitan Division, Eastern Conference and NHL.


Follow Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SWhyno.

Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press

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