Photo: Rob Carr

Justin Williams wasn’t brought to Washington to be a pure goal scorer and point producer. But in his regular role on the second line and second power play unit, Williams has become one of the team’s best finishers in front of the net. Through 45 games, Williams has 16 goals, which ranks second on the team and 58th in the NHL. Williams is also on pace for 29 goals, which would be the most he’s scored since the 2006-07 season with the Carolina Hurricanes, where he scored a career high 33 at age 25.

On Sunday night, Williams had arguably his best game yet as a Capital, scoring his second career hat trick and his first since October 16, 2006 with the ‘Canes.

“It was a looooooong time ago,” Williams told reporters when asked if he remembered the last time he scored three goals.

Williams’s hat trick Sunday was due to a little bit of luck, a little bit of magic from his teammates, and a lot of hard work.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov had a three-point night, which gave him a share of the team lead of points with 41. Kuzy’s empty-net goal and his apple to Tom Wilson were especially magical, but so was Kuzy’s second intermission interview with Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy.

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Jan 10, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) reacts on the bench after scoring his 500th career NHL goal against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

Photo: Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

We always knew Alex Ovechkin was gr8 on and off the ice. On Wednesday we learned more about Ovechkin the teammate.

In his weekly segment with the Sports Junkies, Brooks Laich revealed that, in a recent season, teammate Alexander Ovechkin bought every single teammate Breitling watches. (Laich couldn’t remember the exact season but said it was the season that Alex had “cleaned up with the trophies,” so it could’ve been 2007-08; when Ovi won the Rocket Richard, Art Ross, Lester B. Pearson, and Hart trophies; or 2012-13, the most recent year that he won the Richard and Hart.)

Breitling watches are not cheap. They retail anywhere from $3,000 – 9,825 each. Alex Ovechkin spent at least $90,000 on watches for his team.

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On Sunday, Alex Ovechkin scored his 500th career goal, becoming the 43rd player in NHL history to accomplish the feat. I said on Monday night after our 11th article relating to the goal, and I will say it again during our 12th: there were so many tiny, wonderful moments contained inside that one, we’re still sorting through them all.

Over the offseason, three-time Stanley Cup champion and man nicknamed Mr. Game Seven, Justin Williams, said that he signed with the Capitals because his son Jaxon thought Alex Ovechkin was “the best.”

While Williams didn’t assist on the tally, he was on the ice when Ovechkin scored. And just like he has been all throughout his career, Williams was calm under fire, remembering to pick up the milestone puck before joining in on the team’s celebration.

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When Alex Ovechkin scored his 500th goal on Sunday, a few readers noticed that Ovechkin’s parents, Tatyana and Mikhail, were sitting in totally different areas of Verizon Center. A proud Tatyana, wearing a yellow coat, broke down in tears.

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Photo: Jacquelyn Martin

Alex Ovechkin had a milestone night on Sunday in front of a home crowd and his friends and family. Ovechkin struck twice in Washington’s 7-1 trouncing of the Ottawa Senators, recording career goals 500 and 501 in thrilling fashion. The drama was not lost on Ovechkin, his teammates, or his head coach. Here’s some of what they said after the game.

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Hours after signing a prorated one-year, $1 million deal with the Capitals, a contrite and excited Mike Richards spoke to TSN’s Gary Lawless about his new opportunity.

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Photo: Jamie Sabau

The Capitals made it nearly halfway through the 2015-16 NHL season without suffering back-to-back loses, winning nine straight games in December. But with Brooks Orpik, John Carlson, and Jay Beagle missing from the lineup, the Caps dropped two games in a row against two of the league’s worst teams. The games were close, with Brandon Saad scoring with just over a minute left to send Saturday’s game against Columbus to a shootout after the Capitals almost came back against Carolina on Thursday. Still, the loses are disappointing for a team that desperately wants to raise the Stanley Cup this year.

“It’s going to have to be better, it’s that simple,” goalie Braden Holtby, who took just his sixth loss of the season against Columbus, said.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov was the Capitals’ first star in Washington’s 5-2 shellacking of the Buffalo Sabres. Despite trailing 2-1 heading into the third period, the Caps scored four unanswered goals to win their ninth-straight game.

Kuznetsov was a gigantic part of that. The 23-year-old forward, who slid back up into the first line center position with Nicklas Backstrom out hurt, tallied the primary assists on Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson’s game-tying and game-winning goals. Kuznetsov also had six shots on goal, which is his second highest total of the season. Kuznetsov’s even strength shot attempt differential was an astronomical plus-27.

After the game, Kuznetsov was his normal, ridiculous self with reporters.

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As the Capitals finished off their ninth straight win on Wednesday, the sellout crowd roared in approval of the NHL’s best team. But 20 minutes later, there were only hushed gasps from the press corps as head coach Barry Trotz explained how costly Washington’s 28th had been.

Jay Beagle, who left the game with 5:52 left in the second period, will need upper-body surgery. Though Trotz refused to say what the injury was, the coach said Washington’s third line center, who has tallied six goals this season, will be out “for an extended period of time.” He is expected to be placed on injured reserve shortly.

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