Ovechkin gets historic hat trick, Caps beat Canadiens
(AP Photo/Nick Wass)
By RICH DUBROFF
WASHINGTON (AP) Alex Ovechkin had a historic night, and now he could use a travel agent.
Anything to keep this roll going.
Ovechkin scored four goals to become the first player in 100 years with back-to-back hat tricks to open a season, and the Washington Capitals beat the Montreal Canadiens 6-1 on Saturday night.
Ovechkin had three goals in the third period in Thursday's opening night win at Ottawa, then matched the feat while helping chase Montreal goalie Carey Price in the first period Saturday. He added his fourth goal at 16:46 of the second period against Al Montoya.
Ovechkin jokingly credited the outburst to his Russian sister-in-law, who has been visiting the U.S. this week.
"Every time she's in town like I score a hat trick," Ovechkin said. "Back-to-back and she's leaving Monday. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to talk to someone to keep her here."
It was the fourth four-goal game of his career and second against the Canadiens.
Three players had hat tricks in the first two games of the 1917-18 season: Cy Denneny of Ottawa, Joe Malone of Montreal and Reg Noble of Toronto, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Ovechkin is the first since.
Ovechkin opened the scoring 20 seconds in, added his second goal at 2:51 and his third at 18:10. Evgeny Kusnetsov assisted on all four of Ovechkin's goals.
"It's a fun time when you play like that and your line's feeling it," Ovechkin said. "When your line's feeling it, you just want to be out there more and more. Sometimes you play well but you don't score. Right now it's we play well, we score goals, we're dangerous. All three forwards are dangerous and we just have to continue to play like that."
Capitals coach Barry Trotz spent time with his star in the offseason, and he's heartened that the 32-year-old Ovechkin worked hard to prepare for the season.
"Alex took it to heart that he's got to keep evolving," Trotz said. "It's tougher when you're older. You've got to work out harder."
Oshie gave Washington a 2-0 lead 46 seconds into the game, and the Capitals led 4-0 after one.
"When you spot a team three goals early like that, it's pretty hard to come back in this league," Montreal coach Claude Julien said. "They had a good start and we weren't ready for that. Once that game is 4-0, it's pretty hard the rest of the way."
Nathan Walker became the first Australian native to play in the NHL and had a grand debut when he scored Washington's sixth goal late in the second period.
The goal was originally credited to Devante Smith-Pelly, but when the change was announced to the crowd during the third period, his family waved Australian flags in Walker's honor.
"At first I wasn't 100 percent sure," Walker said of his goal. He felt in somewhat of a daze in his first game.
"The first couple of shifts I didn't know what happened," he said.
Brendan Gallagher beat Holtby early in the second period for Montreal's only goal.
Price allowed four goals on 14 shots. Montoya followed with seven saves.
NOTES: Montreal D Karl Alzner, who played his first nine seasons with the Capitals, was welcomed back with a video tribute in the first period. ... Peter Bondra, who scored the second-most goals in Washington, history was named the team's Director of Alumni Affairs and Business Development. Ovechkin tied Bondra's team record of 19 hat tricks. ... Ovechkin is 22nd on the all-time goal list with 565. He passed Mats Sundin and Joe Nieuwendyk.
Canadiens: Visit the New York Rangers on Sunday night in their third straight road game. They'll have their home opener Tuesday against Chicago.
Capitals: Visit Tampa Bay on Monday night. Washington plays eight of their 12 games in October on the road.
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Updated October 8, 2017