The Washington Capitals took advantage of a tired Toronto Maple Leafs squad, and pasted the boys in blue 6-1 to the delight of a packed crowd at the Verizon Center. Alex Ovechkin showed why he's the best in the game with a five-point night, one goal and four assists, to move into second place overall in the NHL points race.
Ovechkin got Washington off to a lightning quick start with a goal just 49 seconds into the game. Nicklas Backstrom broke into the Leafs zone and when both Leaf defensemen tried to pinch in on him, he threw the puck outside to Ovi who was streaking down his right side. Ovechkin ripped the puck past a helpless Vesa Toskala and the Caps were up 1-0 before the game was a minute old.
Eric Fehr made it 2-0 near the end of the first, when he tipped in a shot from Ovechkin. The shot was a bit of a lame duck as Ovi broke his stick on the play, but it had enough on it to get to Fehr, who made a nice tip for his 12th goal of the season.
Mike Knuble stretched the lead to 3-0 four minutes into the second period, and then 4-0 just two minutes later. Knuble's second goal was the game's best as Washington moved the puck around brilliantly on a power play, before he tapped in an Ovi rebound that was just sitting in the goal crease.
Tomas Kaberle got one back for Toronto on a power play late in the second to make it 4-1; but that's as close as the Leafs would come.
Tomas Fleischmann made it 5-1 on the Caps second power play goal of the night when Ovechkin slipped him a beautiful shot-pass to tip past Toskala. Flash had his 16th goal of the season, and The Great 8 completed his fourth career five point game; it was the first time that Ovechkin has registered four assists in a game.
Tom Poti made it an even half dozen for Washington a few minutes later, with the only goal of the night that didn't include Ovechkin. Alexander Semin took advantage of some poor Leaf back-checking and hit Poti with a pass in the slot, that the defenseman fired past a heavily screened Toskala. 6-1 Caps.
Jose Theodore made 28 saves for the win. He was solid in the opening frame stopping 14 shots and enabling the Caps to open up a lead.
The win gave the Capitals 64 points, and while it's still a little early to call the division a runaway, with an incredible 17-point gap over the Atlanta Thrashers in the Southeast Division, it's not a stretch. Washington are now just one point behind the New Jersey Devils for the Eastern Conference lead.