WASHINGTON A road trip that looked promising after a 2-0 start ended in mediocrity as the Washington Capitals picked up just their second regulation win over the Sharks since 1999 with a 4-1 win Monday night.
The Capitals (16-11-1) broke things open by scoring three times in a 23-minute span in the middle of the game, sending the Sharks (14-10-2) back to the West Coast with a 2-2 record on their East Coast jaunt.
Devante Smith Pelly opened the scoring at 16:49 of the first, redirecting a point shot from John Carlson after Jannik Hansen and Marc-Edouard Vlasic left him open in front of the Sharks net.
The goal was the first career tally that Martin Jones has given up in Washington. Jones pitched shutouts at Capital One Arena in each of the Sharks last two trips to the nations capitol.
Alexander Ovechkin stretched the Capitals lead to 2-0 at 7:11 of the second, burying a breakaway opportunity. Ovechkin pounced on a loose puck after Kevin Labanc sent a pass into Brent Burns skates before sending a backhander into the roof of the net.
With his 578th career goal, Ovechkin grabbed hold of 20th place on the NHLs all-time goals list, passing Mark Recchi.
After Timo Meier cut the lead in half by firing a rebound off the end board into the top-left corner at 11:32 of the middle stanza, the Capitals made it 3-1 by capitalizing on a power play opportunity in the final minute of the period.
Brett Connolly scored the insurance goal with 52 seconds left in the frame by flipping a backhanded shot into the top shelf after he broke loose following a scramble for the puck at the Sharks blue line.
The tally marked the first time this season that the Sharks penalty kill has surrendered goals in back-to-back games.
The Capitals scored a second power play goal at 11:36 of the third when Jakub Varana scored from in close off a pass from Tom Wilson.
Joe Thornton fought for the first time since he dropped the gloves with Jamie Benn on Feb. 23, 2013, mixing it up with Wilson.
Wilson appeared to initiate the fight with Thornton because the Sharks alternate captain knocked T.J. Oshie out of the game with a clean hit in the second period.