NEW YORK - Alex Ovechkin returned form a six-game layoff, and wasted no time kick-starting the Washington Capitals' offence.
Ovechkin scored his league-leading 15th goal in his 15th game on Tuesday night after missing two weeks because of an injury, and the Capitals beat the New York Rangers 4-2. The two-time NHL MVP was sidelined for six games because of an upper body injury, believed to be a left shoulder strain.
While the Capitals welcomed back Ovechkin, Washington was without top forward Alexander Semin, who has been bothered by a sore right wrist. Semin was injured last week, but hadn't missed a game because of his wrist until he sat out Tuesday night.
Ovechkin got hurt against Columbus on Nov. 1. The Southeast Division-leading Capitals won four of six games without him.
The Capitals were also missing goalie Jose Theodore, who returned home because of a personal matter.
Semyon Varlamov, who played well against the Rangers in last season's playoffs when the Capitals erased a 3-1 series deficit in the first round to advance, beat New York again.
Varlamov is 7-1 in his past eight outings.
The Capitals are also missing forwards Mike Knuble (broken finger), Boyd Gordon (back), and defenceman Milan Jurcina (lower body). Knuble missed his second game and is expected to be sidelined for three to four weeks. Jurcina missed his third game.