WASHINGTON - Bruce Boudreau can't explain the Washington Capitals' dominance of the Ottawa Senators. The rookie coach is certainly happy to be done playing the offence-laden Eastern Division leaders.
Alex Ovechkin scored the tiebreaking goal on a third-period power play and the Capitals completed a season sweep of Ottawa with a 4-2 victory Tuesday night. "Somehow, we've got their number," Boudreau said. "I don't know why it happens."
Asked if he was sorry to have met Ottawa for the final time this season, Boudreau responded quickly: "Absolutely not. They're the best team in the league. We don't want to play them every night."
On the day the Capitals learned they had lost centre Michael Nylander for the rest of the season, they shrugged off his absence to complete the club's first sweep of Ottawa since 1995-96.
Ovechkin collected Brooks Laich's long rebound between the circles and pushed in a knuckling shot that glanced off the right leg pad of Ottawa's Ray Emery at 9:11. Ovechkin's team-leading 34th goal sealed Washington's fourth win this season against the Senators, whose 62 points are second-most in the NHL.
"They're leading our division, so this is very important to win," Ovechkin said. "But for us, it doesn't matter who we play. We have to win. Two points is two points, whether it's against Ottawa or anyone. We want to go up (in the standings)."
Alexander Semin had two goals and an assist and Mike Green also tallied for the Capitals. Tomas Fleischmann added two assists.
"There are teams in the league you play good against," Green said. "Ottawa, we just seem to get excited to play them."
Dean McAmmond and Wade Redden scored for Ottawa.
"Every game we lost (to Washington) this year, it's our own doing," Senators defenceman Chris Phillips said. "Beating ourselves, making mistakes and they're capitalizing on them."
Both teams played without key offensive personnel out with shoulder injuries.
Ottawa forward Dany Heatley, the team's second-leading scorer with 25 goals and 31 assists, sat out his second game and will miss up to six weeks with a separated right shoulder. Nylander, whose 37 points are second-most on the Capitals, will undergo season-ending surgery Wednesday to repair a torn left rotator cuff.
Washington, which outscored Ottawa 18-10 in its previous three victories, took a 1-0 lead on Green's 13th goal 47 seconds into the second period on a power play. Green, dashing through the right circle, converted Viktor Kozlov's tricky pass out of the left corner and through the crease.
McAmmond and Redden struck 1:22 apart in the second to put Ottawa up 2-1. From between the circles, McAmmond ricocheted a shot off the stick of defenceman John Erskine at 13:41.
Redden whacked Patrick Eaves' rebound past Brent Johnson at 15:03.
Semin tied it again 23 seconds later, intercepting a pass, driving down the right wing and lifting a shot over Emery.
After Ovechkin put Washington ahead, Semin gave the Capitals a two-goal advantage, poking home a loose puck at 11:56.
Notes: Ottawa RW Daniel Alfredsson picked up an assist on McAmmond's goal and has points in 11 straight games. ... Johnson was shaken up in a collision with Ottawa's Chris Neil in front of the Washington goal 38 seconds in. Johnson remained in after being treated by trainers. ... C Ilya Zubov, called up to replace Heatley on the roster, made his NHL debut.