Capitals

Ovi Scores 51st; Caps Top Coasting Blackhawks 4-0

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Alex Ovechkin celebrates after scoring a goal. (credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Alex Ovechkin celebrates after scoring a goal. (credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON — Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading 51st goal to help lead the Washington Capitals to a low-intensity 4-0 rout of the coasting Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night in a game between teams whose postseason fates had already been decided.

Jay Beagle had his first career two-goal game, and Nicklas Backstrom also scored as the Capitals won their fourth straight, a hollow winning streak because they won’t be in the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

Jaroslav Halak made 34 saves in his first shutout since the trade deadline deal that brought him to Washington from the St. Louis Blues. It was also his first game since a dustup earlier this week over whether he was skittish about facing his former team.

The Blackhawks, shut out for the fourth time this season, were already assured of making the postseason as the third-place team in the Central Division.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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