Sun, Jan 17, 2010 - Page 19 News List

NHL: Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin pummels Leafs in 6-1 rout

TEAM PLAYERThe Capitals player pleased coach Bruce Boudreau with his team-first mentality. Elsewhere, the Predators stopped the Flames from taking the top position

REUTERS , WASHINGTON

Mike Knuble, No. 22, of the Washington Capitals scores against Vesa Toskala, No. 35, of the Toronto Maple Leafs off an assist by Alex Ovechkin, No. 8, at the Verizon Center on Friday in Washington.

PHOTO: AFP

Washington sniper Alex Ovechkin helped himself to five points against Toronto on Friday, opening the scoring after 49 seconds and grabbing a career-high four assists in the Capitals’ 6-1 win over the Maple Leafs.

Ovechkin’s goal was his 29th of the season, but it was his overall team-first mentality that pleased coach Bruce Boudreau.

“There is no doubt that he loves to play and he’s all about winning,” Boudreau said. “He thinks of his teammates all the time and we saw that tonight.”

“Whether he gets an assist or whether he gets nothing, when the team does well, he does well,” he said.

Toronto goalie Vesa Toskala, who blanked Philadelphia 4-0 on Thursday, surrendered six goals on 24 shots as the Caps moved to within a point of New Jersey for first in the Eastern Conference.

Ovechkin, whose five points were a season high, was quick to credit his teammates.

“We got a lot of chances,” Ovechkin said. “I was [just] there.”

Capitals netminder Jose Theodore made 28 saves against the Leafs, who despite sitting near the bottom of the NHL standings lead the league in shots on goal this season.

“Getting lots of shots doesn’t help you if you don’t win games,” Toronto coach Ron Wilson said.

“It doesn’t matter how many shots a good team gets, they still manage to find ways to win and we don’t do that often enough,” Wilson said.

“It just shows their [the Capitals] skill level. They scored on just about every chance they had,” he said.

Eric Fehr made it 2-0 to Washington with a little more than two minutes remaining in the first period before Mike Knuble scored twice early in the second to extend their lead to 4-0.

Tomas Kaberle pulled one back for the Leafs with a power-play goal before the end of the second, but Tomas Fleischmann and Tom Poti completed the rout in the third.

The Leafs have lost seven of their last 10 games and are nine points out of a playoff place.

■PREDATORS VS FLAMES

AP, CALGARY, ALBERTA

The Nashville Predators had a 1-0 win over Calgary on Friday, preventing the Flames from going clear top of the NHL’s Northwest Division.

Patric Hornqvist scored the sole goal with six minutes, 22 seconds left, and Dan Ellis made 22 saves for his first shutout of the season for Nashville.

Steve Sullivan set up the goal, gaining control behind the net and feeding Hornqvist at the edge of the crease. Hornqvist knocked the puck past Miikka Kiprusoff for his team-high 19th goal of the season and six in as many games.

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