Washington Capitals\' Alex Ovechkin (8), of Russia, scores against Montreal Canadiens goaltender Cristobal Huet, right, of France, and Maxim Lapierre during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008, in Washington. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Manuel Balce Ceneta
WASHINGTON - The Capitals' Alex Ovechkin broke his nose, needed stitches in his lip after getting hit with a puck and then showed the Montreal Canadiens the true meaning of the word tough.
The battered Ovechkin, who also sported a cut below his eye from a high stick on Tuesday night, scored his fourth goal of the night with 1:26 left in overtime to give the Washington Capitals a 5-4 Canadiens on Thursday night.
Ovechkin tied career highs with four goals and five points, but the last one was the biggest. He took a crossing pass from Jeff Schultz and beat Montreal goalie Cristobal Huet from in front for the overtime goal.
"Today was a special day," Ovechkin said with a smile. "I broke my nose, have stitches (and) score four goals. Everything (went) to my face."
He broke his nose when he was sent hard into the boards by Montreal defenceman Francis Bouillon.
Ovechkin's fourth career hat trick was his first ever at home. It was Ovechkin's second career four-goal and five-point game - he also did it on Dec. 29, at Ottawa. Ovechkin leads the NHL with 43 goals and took over the points lead with 70. It's the first time he's been the league leader in scoring.
"We scored five, and he was in on all five," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "So, how can you say enough about him? He's an amazing person."
Ovechkin was one of several Capitals who were very aggressive on the ice from start to finish as Washington was apparently angered by how the Canadiens tried to score in the final minute of Tuesday's game in Montreal despite having a four-goal lead.
Washington took the game's first seven shots, and the Caps were all over the ice and created a number of scoring chances, finishing with a 38-21 edge in shots.
But even though Viktor Kozlov had one goal and two assists, and Mike Green added two assists, the Washington offence revolved around Ovechkin.
"The way Ovie scored the goals today, he's pretty amazing," linemate Kozlov said. "Alex's game is excellent, excellent. Hitting people, passing, scoring. I don't know what else forwards could do."
Montreal had 40 shots in Tuesday's 4-0 victory, but Washington's defence slowed down the free-skating Canadiens and limited their scoring chances.
The all-star scored Washington's first, third, fourth and fifth goals. He also assisted on Kozlov's goal.
The Capitals couldn't hold a 3-0 second-period lead and a 4-2 edge in the third.
Sergei Kastitsyn scored for Montreal less than a minute after Washington's third goal, and Andrei Kastitsyn cut the lead to 3-2 with a power-play goal with less than one second remaining in the second period.
Ovechkin scored in the third period, but Montreal tallied twice, sending the game into overtime when Guillaume Latendresse poked home a loose puck past sprawled Washington goalie Olie Kolzig with 32.6 seconds left in regulation after the Canadiens pulled Huet for an extra attacker.
That was Latendresse's second goal of the third period. But it just set the stage for more Ovechkin highlights in overtime.
"In the third period, we came back again, but Ovechkin was too strong," said Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau.
Notes: Ovechkin has scored at least 40 goals in each of his first three seasons. Peter Bondra was the last Capitals player to do it. ... The Kostitsyn brothers became the first siblings to score a goal in the same game for Montreal since Frank and Pete Mahovolich did it on April 14, 1974 against the New York Rangers in the playoffs. ... Montreal's Saku Koivu played in his 700th career game.