Nick Wass
January 12, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) Alex Ovechkin has made a career out of scoring crucial goals for the Washington Capitals, and he did once more Monday night.

Ovechkin scored a tiebreaking power-play goal late in the second period to help the Washington Capitals beat the Colorado Avalanche 2-1.

''I was just saying I didn't think (Alex) was particularly good for (his) standards today.missing the net a little bit, fumbling pucks,'' Washington coach Barry Trotz said. ''But who scores the winning goal? Alex Ovechkin.''

Jay Beagle also scored and Braden Holtby stopped 31 shots to earn his 21st victory for the Capitals, who improved to 13-1-4 in the last 18 games. They've also won six straight at home, their longest home win streak in two seasons.

Holtby, who made his 19th straight start and has appeared in 25 consecutive games, had 18 saves in the third period to preserve the win.

Alex Tanguay scored for the Avalanche, and Semyon Varlamov finished with 36 saves. Colorado snapped a three-game winning streak.

Ovechkin snapped a shot past Varlamov from left circle after passes from Troy Brouwer and Nicklas Backstrom with 2:14 left in the second period. It was Ovechkin's 74th game-winning goal, moving him past Peter Bondra for first place in franchise history. Ovechkin also now has scored a goal in six of his last seven games.

''When we play our game, we play the system. ... it's very hard to play against (us),'' Ovechkin said. ''When we play the system, play smart (defense), we're going to get our chances.''

Washington was on the power play due to a roughing call on Varlamov.

The Capitals came up with many scoring chances but had problems beating former teammate Varlamov. He made 19 saves in the second period alone.

''I still have lots of memories,'' Varlamov said. ''(Washington) was my first team, and they gave me a chance to play in the NHL, so it's really fun to play here.''

The Capitals got another strong effort from Holtby, especially during the third period when Colorado kept the pressure on and outshot Washington 18-6.

''They have a ton of speed, a ton of skill,'' Holtby said. ''I thought we gave up a few shots, but I don't think we panicked in that situation, and that was the difference.''

Beagle gave the Capitals the early lead when scored on a backhand shot 7:34 into the first period. Washington's win improved their mark to 22-1-3 when scoring first.

Colorado tied it on Tanguay's power-play goal with 9:02 left in the second period. Washington held a 20-7 edge in shots in that period before the Avalanche made its big push in the third.

''Obviously, we were not happy about the second,'' Colorado coach Patrick Roy said. ''But the third period, I thought we bounced (back). We had a solid third, and we unfortunately had some bounces that didn't go our way.''

NOTES: The Capitals recalled G Justin Peters from Hershey of the AHL and re-assigned goalie Pheonix Copley there on Monday. Peters hasn't played since Nov. 29, and he played twice with the Bears this weekend. ... D Nate Schmidt also went to Hershey during the weekend for playing time, but he suffered a scapular fracture (shoulder blade) which could sideline him for six to eight weeks. ... Varlamov was named the NHL's second star of the week Monday. He was 3-0-0 with one shutout last week.

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