Alex Ovechkin has 16 goals in Washington’s last 14 games. (AP)


Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom has seen firsthand, and been asked plenty of questions about, the goal-scoring prowess of star Alex Ovechkin over the years. So as he walked out of the locker room Sunday night and fielded yet another inquiry regarding his linemate’s latest heroics, Backstrom simply smiled and offered this insight: “He’s on fire.”

The NHL agrees.

For the second time in 14 days, Ovechkin was named the league’s first star of the week Monday after scoring seven goals and tallying nine points in Washington’s past four games. He capped off his week with five goals in 27 hours, recording his second hat trick of the season Saturday at Florida and scoring two more goals Sunday, including his first empty netter of the year, against Tampa Bay Sunday.

Ovechkin, who has 16 goals and seven assists in his past 14 games, is now tied with Lightning star Steven Stamkos with an NHL-high 25 goals this season. He also leads the league with 14 power-play goals.

It’s also no coincidence that Ovechkin’s surge has coincided with Washington’s move to the top of the Southeast division standings. The Capitals are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games, including four-straight wins, heading into Tuesday night’s contest at Montreal.

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