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Ovechkin pushed the lead to three with another weird sequence late in the middle period. Washington’s power play was scuffling, but the Caps had an odd-man rush after nearly yielding a chance at the other end.

Semin sent a pass from left to right to Fleischmann, but his one-timer clanged off the right post. The rebound went off Ovechkin’s stick near the left post and trickled along the goal line before tucking just inside the net at the far side.

“The second one was a pretty lucky goal,” Ovechkin said. “I try to use my backhand and then my forehand, and I just missed the puck, but it still [went] in.”

The last time Ovechkin played in this building, his “hot stick” celebration for his 50th goal last season set off a swirl of criticism - not unlike the stir his two ejections in three games caused last month.

“I thought [Ovechkin] was a little rusty and wasn’t moving his legs like most of us weren’t in the first period,” Boudreau said. “We started moving our legs, and we started getting chances to score.”