VANCOUVER — Alex Ovechkin scored the winner Thursday as the Washington Capitals downed the Vancouver Canucks 3-2.
Ovechkin's fifth of the season — and fifth in five games — came on a 2-on-1 break with 4:55 left in the third period on a fluttering one-timer that went off the crossbar and in after a feed from Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Jay Beagle, with a goal and an assist, and Jason Chimera also scored for Washington (5-1-0), which has won four straight. Braden Holtby made 23 stops.
Henrik Sedin and Radim Vrbata each had a goal and an assist for Vancouver (3-2-2), while Ryan Miller stopped 32 shots.
Down 2-1 through 40 minutes, the Capitals tied it at 5:42 of the third after Vrbata gave the puck away behind his own net, with Beagle eventually tipping John Carlson's point shot past Miller for his first of the season.
Holtby stopped Daniel Sedin on a 2-on-1 midway through the period before stoning Bo Horvat with under seven minutes to go to keep things tied.
The Canucks came in having dropped the first two of a five-game homestand and trailed 1-0 after the first period before getting back to even terms thanks to their reunited first line of Vrbata with Henrik and Daniel Sedin.
Vrbata, who was pointless through six games, skated alongside the superstar twins for the first time this season and was rewarded for going to the net at 4:14 of the second when Henrik Sedin's centring pass went in off his skate.
Vrbata had 31 goals and 32 assists while playing with the Sedins for most of 2014-15, but had struggled to find chemistry on the second line with Horvat early this season.
The Canucks then grabbed the lead with 5:59 left in the period on the man advantage when Henrik Sedin took a pass from his brother at the side of the net and squeezed a shot between Holtby and the near post for his second of the season. Vancouver's power play had been an anaemic 1-for-22 on the season, and the goal was the first for the top unit.
Daniel Sedin had a golden opportunity to make it 3-1 late in the second, but Holtby stretched to make the save from in close with about three minutes left in the period.
The Capitals opened the scoring with 4:50 left in the first period off the rush after the Canucks had them hemmed in their own zone for an extended period. Washington broke the other way, with Beagle feeding a pass in front to Chimera for his third of the season.
Ovechkin, who came in having scored in four straight games, nearly made it 2-0 moments later — the goal judge at Rogers Arena was even fooled — but Miller came across to make a great save on a 2-on-1.
Notes: Washington visits the Edmonton Oilers on Friday. ... Vancouver hosts the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.
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Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press