EDMONTON, Alberta — Alex Ovechkin picked on the Edmonton Oilers this time.
Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading 10th goal and added an assist for the Washington Capitals, who beat the Oilers 4-1 on Thursday night for their third straight win.
“He’s a goal scorer,” Capitals coach Adam Oates said. “They’re kind of broken plays, and before you know it, with his release, they’re tough on goalies.”
Ovechkin netted his 10th goal in 10 games with 1:47 left in the first period. A faceoff deep in Oilers territory came back to the Washington captain, who put a quick wrist shot up high past goalie Devan Dubnyk.
Ovechkin has 32 goals in 31 games, dating to last season.
Joel Ward, Jason Chimera and Nicklas Backstrom also scored for the Capitals (5-5-0), who have won four of five.
The one netted by Backstrom early in the third period made the difference.
“That was a big goal,” Ovechkin said. “We scored that goal and then they stopped playing, then they gave us a lot of opportunities three-on-two and three-on-three.
“It’s a good situation and we have to take advantage of those kind of chances, don’t give them anything. I think we played well and (goalie Braden) Holtby played well today, too.”
Justin Schultz had the lone goal for the Oilers (3-7-1), whose two-game winning streak was snapped. Edmonton has lost six of eight.
Oilers captain Andrew Ference said his team was going good through the first two periods, but didn’t have the same intensity in the third.
“We worked hard in the first 40 minutes, and in the third period you are supposed to cash in,” he said. “You have guys who are worn down and have had extended shifts and we didn’t enjoy the payoff of those first two periods of pressure.
“It’s disappointing not to see the same consistent quick tempo, quick transition … there was way more gliding in the third. It just doesn’t work.”
Edmonton coach Dallas Eakins agreed that his team couldn’t keep up with the Capitals for the full game.
“I thought we had some good offensive-zone play until that third period,” he said. “I really believe they were trying to step on the gas, there was just no gas left. I give a lot of credit to their goaltender. He made some great saves. We had some good looks, we just couldn’t get it past him.”
Edmonton had a glorious chance to tie the game midway through the second period as a hard rebound came out to Jordan Eberle in front, but he shot wide of the empty net as Holtby tried to get back into position.
Washington went up 2-0 with 4:25 left in the second period. Ward stood in the paint in front of the Oilers net to screen Dubnyk and directed in John Carlson’s point shot.
Edmonton outshot the Capitals 22-18 through 40 minutes.
Washington extended its lead to three goals 1:24 into the third on a nice tic-tac-toe passing play. Marcus Johansson sent a pass through the crease to Backstrom, who scored his second of the season and earned his 11th point.
The Capitals made it 4-0 with 6:37 remaining as a turnover allowed a 2-on-1 break. Chimera, who was originally credited with Ward’s earlier goal, picked the corner on a snap shot.
The Oilers broke Holtby’s shutout bid with 2:04 remaining as David Perron’s pass gave Justin Schultz a clear lane for a backhanded goal.
“We did some good things. We were a little bit shaky in the first,” Oates said. “But as the game went along, we did a better job playing the way we’re supposed to play.”
NOTES: It was the second of two meetings between the teams. The Capitals won 4-2 at home on Oct. 14. It was Washington’s first visit to Edmonton in nearly two years. The Oilers won 2-1 on Oct. 27, 2011. Washington came into the game having lost eight of nine in Edmonton. … Capitals D Mike Green was back to taking regular shifts after being benched midway through the third period of his team’s last game in Winnipeg. It was the first game he failed to log at least 20 minutes of ice time.
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