WASHINGTON – T.J. Oshie worked to help Alex Ovechkin set a new record and get the defending Stanley Cup champions back on track.
Oshie scored his 16th goal in the season as part of a dominant performance, Braden Holtby made 30 saves and stopped a penalty kick, and the Washington Capitals beat Vancouver Canucks 3-2 Tuesday night in Jay Beagle back to his old home arena.
With the help of Oshie's goal, Ovechkin took his 1.180. career point up to NHL's scoring leader among Russian players.
The milestone would not have happened so quickly without Oshie, who rose from a bad time immediately in a loss to Boston on Sunday to be best against Canucks. He hounded Chris Tanev to force the turnover that led to his goal, turned the puck over the defenders for a scoring chance at first and created another in the other.
"Personally, I've been feeling well here for the last couple of weeks," said Oshie. "Tonight was just another of those games where the puck was kind enough to find me. Would have liked to score more than one, but I had fun out there."
Holtby made 13 saves and denied Bo Horvat on a penalty kick in a busy second period to help the fighting capitals pick up two important points. Holtby was overrun by Horvat ahead of Elias Pettersson's 7.6-second goal and was present by a team athletic coach before finishing the game, but said he was ok.
Since the All-Star break is Holtby 2-0-1 and has stopped 96 of the 101 shots he has faced.
"Hockey sometimes goes in cycles, and I think we are doing a good job ahead of our net right now to make clear paths to see removing various options and limiting opportunities," Holtby said. "You're just trying to analyze each game to see what you can do better and move on."
Ovechkin is ready to move forward after introducing a new record by transferring former teammate Sergei Fedorov to the Russian scoring lead. He did so in 193 fewer games than Fedorov, which Ovechkin played with in 2008 and 2009 and considers a friend.
"I spoke to him and said it is a great honor," said Ovechkin. "Of course we have a very good relationship, and I am quite sure that he is very pleased with me that I hit him."
Brett Connolly and Jakub Vrana scored third-party goals for the defending Stanley Cup masters who had lost eight of their previous nine games. Vranas goal of 7:47 left was reviewed to ensure that Evgeny Kuznetsov did not bathe it in with a high stick.
Markus Granlund also scored for Canucks, who lost the second consecutive night and dropped three out of four. Forced to start each side of this back-to-back because of an injury to rookie Thatcher Demko, Jacob Markstrom made 17 of his 28 savers in the first period to keep Canucks in it.
"Most of the game I thought we played well," Markstrom said. "Same in Philly (Monday). Come February, come March and April we need points and we need them bad. It's difficult when there are many teams chasing you and we are chasing many teams."
The game was Beagle's first time against its former teammates after playing part of 10 seasons with the capitals and helped them win the Stanley Cup last year. Beagle, who signed a four-year $ 12 million contract with Vancouver, received a standing ovation from the crowd during a video tribute during the first period and a hug from Ovechkin after it was over.
"It's something I will remember forever," Beagle said.
NOTES: Canucks D Alexander Edler will miss at least a week with a concussion from a scary fall to the ice Monday in Philadelphia. Trainer Travis Green said that Edler needed seams, but X-rays showed no facial fractures from hitting his head on the ice. … Junior G Mike DiPietro backed Markstrom after Demko wound a knee Monday in warmups and went back to Vancouver for an MR. … Capitals D Lars Eller returned to the lineup after missing a game with lower body damage.
Canucks: Wrap up their four-game tour Thursday at the Chicago Blackhawks.
Capitals: Continue their six-game homestand Thursday against Colorado Avalanche.