Ottawa Senators\' Patrick Eaves (44) loses his helmet as he collides with Washington Capitals goalie Olie Kolzig (37), of South Africa, during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Wednesday, in Washington. (AP/Nick Wass)
The Washington Capitals captain kept right on smiling, thrilled with his performance and thrilled by his team's turnaround.
Clark scored twice off assists from Alex Ovechkin and suddenly surging Washington beat the Ottawa Senators 6-2 Wednesday night for its fourth consecutive victory.
After averaging only 1 1/2 goals during a six-game winless drought, the Capitals have averaged 5 1/2 goals in victories over Tampa Bay, Dallas, Buffalo and Ottawa. And Clark, who had two goals in six games since being injured Nov. 15, led the way against the Senators.
''Getting the two goals and the win is a fantastic feeling. Coming off the injury, and then the losing streak - it was tough,'' Clark said.
''Being able to contribute like this is a great feeling.''
The Capitals haven't had a five-game winning streak since March 3-11, 2001. They'll try to match that Friday at home against NHL-leading Anaheim. Washington's Olie Kolzig made 35 saves.
''I have a great team, and we play well,'' said Ovechkin, who finished with three assists, as did linemate Dainius Zubrus. ''Right now, we're playing well. Enjoy it.''
Washington, which ended Ottawa's four-game winning streak, has won three in a row at home for the first time since Feb. 24 to March 2, 2003.
It was a penalty-filled game, with each team whistled 11 times, and Senators coach Bryan Murray wasn't exactly pleased.
''I'm not supposed to comment, but (during) the first goal, Ovechkin was offside, and we watched it. His foot was well over the line, and his other foot was in the air,'' Murray said.
''The third goal, with an icing call ... that's what we were yelling about, and they call it a clean play.''
The Capitals went ahead 2-0 in the first period on goals 36 seconds apart by Matt Bradley and Clark, who added his second of the game and ninth of the season 13:54 into the second period.
Alexander Semin, Matt Pettinger and Brooks Laich padded Washington's lead in the third. Semin and Pettinger scored on power plays, while Laich's goal was his first of the season.
Jason Spezza and Mike Fisher scored for Ottawa, which played without captain Daniel Alfredsson, injured in Tuesday night's win against the New York Islanders.
The Capitals continued their pattern of playing their best against some of the NHL's top teams: They're 8-3 against clubs that topped 100 points last season - including 2-0 against Ottawa - and 4-6-6 against everyone else.
The Senators had been pretty much unstoppable lately, winning nine of 11 heading into Wednesday. Top goalie Ray Emery had won six of seven decisions, but he allowed all of the goals against Washington, and the announced crowd of 10,926 chanted his name sarcastically during the hosts' three-goal third period.
''We'll just have to regroup and start another streak,'' said forward Peter Schaefer, who assisted on Fisher's goal.
Bradley began things 15:30 in by using his glove to bat down a backhanded clearing attempt by Antoine Vermette, then sending a shot into the upper right corner of the net.
That goal still was being announced on the PA system when Clark knocked in a rebound in front of the net.
''The goalie was down, and the puck came right to my stick - right place, right time,'' Clark said. ''The second one, I shoot that a lot, and nine times out of 10 they don't go in. Tonight it went in.''
That's how things are going lately for the Capitals.
Notes: Washington Redskins receiver Brandon Lloyd attended the game and drew some scattered boos when he was shown on the above-ice video board. ... A scoreboard malfunction in the first period forced the PA announcer to announce time remaining in penalties.