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Caps coach Adam Oates talked about the enthusiasm an on-fire Ovechkin creates. He’s jumping into the glass to celebrate with fans when he scores. The arena gets loud. Most important, consciously or not, his teammates seem to find a little spark, too.

Ovechkin gave the Caps the lead 1:23 into the third. A mere 2:33 later, Eric Fehr scored the Caps’ first shorthanded goal of the season. It probably was a coincidence. Or maybe not. Not long after that, Fehr made a brilliant defensive play.

The Caps have so often played the third period this season as if they were waiting for things to collapse, which they did many times. Saturday, they played like they were going to make it a blowout. Which they did.

Ovechkin was the reason.

“That’s what makes him the player he is. That’s why he’s the captain,” Holtby said. “That’s the leadership he needs to bring. If he can bring it every night, it can trickle down to the rest of the team. He’s the focal point of our offense. He’s a finisher. When you have him going, it is a big part.

“The last 10 games or so, he’s started to play better and it is great to see him playing like he is. You can see it is starting to affect the rest of our group.”