- The Washington Times - Monday, February 2, 2009

Alex Ovechkin said he doesn’t enjoy these early afternoon starts.

Even his teammates don’t believe him.

Ovechkin netted his seventh career hat trick - giving him five goals in about 25 hours - to help the Washington Capitals to their second matinee win in as many days. Defenseman Mike Green had his first four-point game, and Sergei Fedorov had three assists in a 7-4 win Sunday against the lowly Ottawa Senators at sold-out Verizon Center.

Even after his scoring surge, Ovechkin insisted he doesn’t like day games.

“No,” he said. “I go to bed a little bit earlier [Saturday night] - at like 8. I wake up again at 6:30 a.m., but I felt a little better today.”

“He hates them?” countered Green, who had a goal and three assists. “How many points does he have in these two games? I don’t see how he can hate them.”

The Caps spent all of seven seconds on the power play to produce a pair of extra-man tallies in the first period. Three seconds after Dany Heatley took a hooking penalty, the Caps leveled the score at 1-1. Nicklas Backstrom kicked the faceoff back to Green, who ripped a shot from the right point past Ottawa goalie Brian Elliott at 9:43.

Washington needed four seconds to convert the second power-play chance. With Jarkko Ruutu off for hooking, Fedorov won the draw back to Green, who whipped a pass to Ovechkin at the top of the left circle. He buried it at 10:32.

Both of Ovechkin’s second-period tallies came on passes from Fedorov - and both went through Ottawa defenseman Filip Kuba’s legs.

“He just give me space to shoot,” Ovechkin said. “It was the same kind of goal, but that’s good.”

After Eric Fehr made it 3-1 just 46 seconds into the second period, Ovechkin scored 89 seconds later, ripping a shot from the right circle off a drop pass from Fedorov. Ovechkin completed the hat trick at 15:31; Fedorov sent a long pass off the boards that he collected at the blue line before taking a shot from the top of the left circle that made it 6-2.

Ovechkin increased his league-leading total to 36 goals - four more than Philadelphia’s Jeff Carter and seven in front of the rest of the pack.

Last season’s MVP potted three, but he didn’t have the goal of the day. That belonged to Alexander Semin at 13:07 of the second. Green had the puck near the defensive blue line; instead of trying to navigate a pass through a throng of Ottawa defenders, he flipped the puck over them. Semin collected it near the boards to the right of backup goalie Alex Auld before swooping in and roofing a backhanded shot past the helpless goaltender that made it 5-2.

“I see Tom Poti do it all the time, so I took it out of his book, I guess,” Green said. “[Semin] picked it up great because it was bouncing and made a great goal.”

Added coach Bruce Boudreau: “That was a beautiful goal. It is going to be a highlight pass - just a sick pass by Mike Green.”

Captain Daniel Alfredsson had a pair of goals for the Senators. He took a drop pass from Heatley at the top of the right circle and tucked a slap shot inside the far post 3:31 into the first. His second came 5:01 into the second when the Caps got caught trying to make a change during a four-on-four.

In the third period, the Senators added a pair of goals to make it 6-4, but Backstrom scored the team’s longest goal of the season with a shot into an empty net from about five feet in front of his own crease with 24 seconds left.

“We have to play the game with a lot more pride than we started this game with,” Ottawa coach Craig Hartsburg said. “They’re a great team. … They found some weaknesses and exposed them.”

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