ANAHEIM, Calif. (CBSLA.com/AP) — Alex Ovechkin scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period, and the Washington Capitals kept up their playoff push with a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night.
Jaroslav Halak made 43 saves in his sixth consecutive start for the Capitals, who have won their past four games at Honda Center.
Joel Ward and Troy Brouwer also scored for the Capitals, who have won three straight to pull into an eighth-place tie with Columbus for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Ben Lovejoy and Mathieu Perreault scored for the Ducks, who have lost four straight home games while falling out of first place in the overall NHL standings.
Jonas Hiller stopped 27 shots, but Ovechkin scored his 46th goal early in a power play.
Ovechkin’s goal was just the second in seven games for last season’s NHL MVP, but the Capitals need every goal and victory possible on their three-game California road trip.
The Blue Jackets and Detroit, one point back in ninth place, both have two games in hand on Washington. Anaheim is still near the top of the Western Conference playoff race, but San Jose has caught the Ducks atop the Pacific Division standings.
The teams meet Thursday at the Shark Tank.
Stephane Robidas played more than 13 minutes in his debut for the Ducks, who acquired the veteran defenseman from Dallas two weeks ago for the playoff push.
Robidas filled in for Cam Fowler, who missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. Washington hadn’t visited Honda Center since Feb. 16, 2011, nine months before the Capitals fired coach Bruce Boudreau, who was hired by Anaheim two days later.
Ward got his 21st goal on a fat rebound just 2:11 in, scoring in his third consecutive game. Lovejoy tied it 59 seconds later on an unobstructed slap shot set up by a terrible Washington line change.
Brouwer scored on a power play in the final seconds of the first period for the Caps, getting his third goal in two games off another rebound.
Anaheim generated nothing from a two-man advantage for 1:51 early in the second period, adding to the power-play woes of an otherwise powerful offensive club.
The Ducks entered the game in a 2-for-42 slump in their previous 13 games, and they went scoreless in their first four chances against Washington.
Tuesday marked the first trip back to the Honda Center for former Los Angeles King and Anaheim Duck Dustin Penner since his March 4 trade to Washington.
Perreault, the former Washington center, put a wrist shot past Halak, who was thoroughly screened by Patrick Maroon, to tie it early in the third.
But just 1:12 later, Nicklas Backstrom won a faceoff and John Carlson got the puck to Ovechkin, who put a typically vicious one-timer past Hiller.
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