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Ovechkin scores 50th goal of the season in Caps' win

The Canadian Press

3/20/2009 12:22:47 AM

TAMPA, Fla. - Alex Ovechkin made history - and made some people mad, too.

Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading 50th goal to become Washington's first three-time 50-goal scorer, and defenceman Mike Green had two goals in the Capitals' 5-2 victory over Tampa Bay on Thursday night.

After the first-period goal, Ovechkin followed through with a plan to put his stick on the ice and pretend to warm his hands over it.

"I think he's a terrific player. He went down a notch in my books after that," Lightning interim coach Rick Tocchet said. "It's not something I like.

"It's hard for me to accept, to see something like that in our building."

Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said he planned to speak to Ovechkin about the orchestrated showmanship.

"He has never done that with me that I've seen," Boudreau said. "He celebrates, but I think that was a little planned out."

Green knew what to expect when Ovechkin reached the milestone, but he preferred to admire it from a distance.

"He told me he was going to do it," Green said. "He wanted me to join in, but there was no way I'd join in on that. I just kind of stood back and let him do what he does."

Ovechkin, who also had two assists, opened the scoring 7:43 into the first period.

The 23-year-old Russian star took a pass from centre Nicklas Backstrom and carried the puck up the right side. Ovechkin deked Matt Pettinger out of position and snapped a wrist shot from the right circle past rookie goalie Mike McKenna.

"It feels pretty good actually," Ovechkin said. "Today was a lucky goal, I think. It's done right now. No pressure. Nothing."

Ovechkin, who has 213 goals in 315 career regular-season games, had 52 goals as a rookie in 2005-06, 46 in 2006-07 and 65 last season.

Ovechkin also assisted on third-period goals by Green and Michael Nylander. Viktor Kozlov notched his second and third assists of the game on those goals.

Matt Bradley sealed the victory with a goal at the 12:26 mark.

Tampa Bay rookie centre Steven Stamkos answered Ovechkin's goal with a power-play score with 2:21 left in the first period, but Green - the NHL leader among defencemen with 27 goals - put the Capitals back in front 10 seconds before the intermission.

Right wing Marty St. Louis tied it at 2 with 4:06 remaining in the second period. He has five goals and five assists during a seven-game points streak.

Washington has won nine straight against Tampa Bay, which hasn't defeated its Southeast Division rival since Nov. 16, 2007. The Lightning have allowed four or more goals in each of the last six meetings.

Notes: Washington LW Donald Brashear sat out his fifth consecutive game because of a sprained knee. ... Washington has won seven of its past eight road games. ... Tampa Bay has lost five straight and eight of nine at home. ... The Capitals hold a 21-9 scoring advantage in the four meetings this season. ... Capitals goalie Simeon Varlamov made 26 saves. McKenna finished with 25.