Alex Ovechkin scores two goals as Washington Capitals complete season sweep of Pittsburgh Penguins

Tomas Fleischmann celebrates his second-period goal with Washington teammate Jeff Schultz.
Tomas Fleischmann celebrates his second-period goal with Washington teammate Jeff Schultz. (Gene J. Puskar/associated Press)
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By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 7, 2010

PITTSBURGH -- Alex Ovechkin's bid to claim his third straight Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy received a big boost Tuesday night.

The two-time MVP struck twice in the third period, including an empty-net goal with less than a second left, to help the Washington Capitals clinch their first season sweep over the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 6-3 victory at Mellon Arena.

It marked Ovechkin's first multi-goal game since March 8, a span of 13 contests.

"It's good for me mentally, with two games left before the playoffs," he said. "It's the kind of situation where those two goals give you a little relief and make you feel more comfortable."

Ovechkin's goals were his 47th and 48th and moved him into a tie with Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who also scored Tuesday. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay's 20-year-old phenom, added another as well, and has 47.

Ovechkin briefly moved into a tie with Vancouver's Henrik Sedin for the NHL points lead, at 106. Sedin had an assist late Tuesday night in the Canucks' 4-3 victory to retake the lead with 107 points.

"All our mind in this locker room is getting ready for the playoffs, not about personal goals and scoring leaders," Ovechkin said, before adding: "Of course, I want to win and Sid wants to win."

Penguins defenseman Jordan Leopold scored his second goal of the night 49 seconds into the third period to cut the Capitals' lead to 4-3 and spark the capacity crowd.

But Ovechkin answered less than two minutes later on the power play, ripping a shot past Brent Johnson from between the circles. Nicklas Backstrom (three assists) won the faceoff off a linesman's skate and passed back to Ovechkin, who later added his league-leading fifth empty-netter.

The Capitals improved to 4-0-0 against their longtime nemesis this season. Their previous best was a 6-0-1 record in 1984-85.

"It's nice that we did it, and I'm happy," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "But I don't think it will mean a hill of beans if we meet them in the playoffs."

Goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 26 saves to record back-to-back wins for the first time since a four-game winning streak Nov. 28 to Dec. 7.

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