ANAHEIM – The Capitals defense brought down Anaheim’s big hopes for a victory. Alex Ovechkin’s third period goal along with Jaroslav Halak’s solid goaltending help stave off the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 at the Honda Center Tuesday night. The win gives Washington a three-game winning streak while the Ducks try and hold on to first place in the Pacific Division with 13 games left to play.

The Capitals fight for playoff contention continued to heat up during their westward swing into southern
California and getting out ahead early was becoming a major success for their squad. It started with Joel Ward scoring his 21st of the season on a shot from the stick side of the Anaheim net to put the Capitals out after two minutes of play.

The Ducks didn’t wait long to respond as Ben Lovejoy added his fifth on a 3 on 2 rush into the Capitals end where his drive found the top shelf to even it all at one. An even strength situation hit both teams as they fought to break the tie. The Ducks handed Washington their first chance in the final minute where Troy Brouwer responded with a backhander on a rebound to tie Ward on goals made. The Ducks took 11 shots on Halak, but the Slovakian in his sixth game with the Capitals gave a clear answer that he would be tougher to beat on the night.

Jonas Hiller felt the spirit of his adversary in the second, as the two battled the opposition where Halak saw the most action as his team put the Ducks on a 5 on 3 two minutes into the quarter. His team made stops against the Ducks, but ultimately failed on the power play. Anaheim saw two more chances on the man advantage, but their fourth was short lived with Washington powering hard in the Ducks end to increase their lead before the night’s conclusion. Neither team made a change to the score as the Ducks outshot Washington 15-11.

It would come down to the final 20 minutes where former Capitals center Mathieu Perreault made a statement against his former team. In the first 90 seconds, Perreault came to center sending a snap shot through traffic with two seconds left on the power play that continued from the second period. His 14th evened up the game, but didn’t settle the result. Ovechkin was the one known to make his mark count when it mattered most as he put the game out of Anaheim’s reach. The Russian superstar attacked the glove side of Hiller with a one timer that went over the goaltender’s glove and into the net giving Ovechkin his 46th. It was the second of three chances on the power play that the Capitals put together, but there was still time for Anaheim to make a comeback.

The Ducks made a stance in the Washington zone firing hard on Halak in every attempt to send the game to overtime. Halak picked up his 28th victory and fourth with Washington making 43 saves on the night. Hiller continues to fall from grace losing his 11th and four of his last five. Now tied with San Jose with 97 points, a decision by coach Bruce Boudreau will come to a climax as he works his team to the bone or goes for the better man in net. A game against the Sharks on Thursday will make everything clear by then.