Alex Ovechkin finished with a hat trick as the Washington Capitals defeated the visiting New Jersey Devils, 5-2, on Thursday.
Ovechkin now has 31 goals this season, including five in the last two games. That was the 25th hat trick of his career, which tops all active players. Ovechkin has 689 career goals, one behind Mario Lemieux, who is in 10th place on the all-time list.
Plus, this was Ovechkin's 140th multi-goal game. He scored both goals in the last game, a 2-0 victory over Carolina.
According to the NHL, Ovechkin also became the second player to score at least 30 goals in each of his first 15 seasons. The other one also played with Washington -- Mike Gartner, who did it from 1979-80 to 1993-94.
Goalie Ilya Samsonov finished with 32 saves and won his ninth consecutive start as the Caps gained some revenge against the Devils, who beat them 5-1 last weekend.
Washington appeared to take a 1-0 lead when Carl Hagelin scored in the first period, but the Devils challenged that the play was offsides, and the goal was wiped out.
But Ovechkin took care of that when he ripped a one-timer past New Jersey goalie Louis Domingue with 4:43 left in the first. That power-play goal gave Washington a 1-0 edge.
Ovechkin extended it to 2-0 with 52 seconds remaining in the period.
Cory Schneider took over for Domingue to start the second period. The Devils said the starter had suffered a lower-body injury, but Schneider got off to a rough start when Hagelin made it 3-0 just 16 seconds into the period.
New Jersey turned the puck over in its own end right after the opening face-off, and the Capitals quickly took possession. Lars Eller then fed Hagelin, and he scored from in front.
But the Devils scored the next two goals. Wayne Simmonds made it 3-1 only 52 seconds later before Blake Coleman added another on a shorthanded breakaway 3:34 into the final period.
Jakub Vrana answered for Washington just over three minutes later, and Ovechkin finished off his hat trick with 4:18 left after a beautiful back-hand pass from Tom Wilson in the corner. The pass went right through the legs of a New Jersey player and found Ovechkin alone in front.
--Field Level Media