OVECHKIN'S TWO QUICK GOALS HELP WASHINGTON END SLIDE

THE BALTIMORE SUN

WASHINGTON - -Alex Ovechkin came into Thursday's game with 224 career goals, the most in the NHL since the lockout. None of them, however, had come against San Jose Sharks.

Now he has two.

On a night when the Washington Capitals needed their best player to be that and more, Ovechkin struck twice in a span of 28 seconds in the second period to lift his team to a 4-1 victory, and more important, end a four-game losing streak.

"Finally I scored," said Ovechkin, who took back the NHL goal-scoring lead with his sixth and seventh of the season. "We didn't play them a lot, but finally."

The victory also ended Washington's longest current losing streak to an opponent at 11 games, a drought that dated to February 1999. It was also the Capitals' first win over goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, who had won his previous eight starts against them.

The win, however, might prove to be costly. Starting goaltender Jos? Theodore left the game after the first period with back spasms and did not return. General manager George McPhee said Theodore is day-to-day and would be re-evaluated Friday.

Theodore , who had faced 13 shots, was replaced by Semyon Varlamov, who was sharp in stopping 15 shots over the final 40 minutes.

But as good as Varlamov was, Ovechkin was better. The two-time Most Valuable Player finished with 13 shots, eight more than San Jose's Dany Heatley, Devin Setoguchi and Joe Thornton combined.

Ovechkin took back the league lead in goals from teammate and close friend Alexander Semin with a pair of quick goals to give the Capitals a 3-1 lead. Semin had scored the Capitals' first goal.

Ovechkin's first strike - his first goal in three games against the Sharks and first against Nabokov - came on the rush when he redirected a crossing pass from Mike Knuble between Nabokov's pads.

Less than a half minute later, Ovechkin beat Kent Huskins to the net and chipped in a rebound of a shot by Knuble. The goal put Ovechkin back into the league lead for goals with seven, one more than Semin.

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