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Kuznetsov shines, Capitals beat Canucks 4-1

Vancouver Canucks goalie Ryan Miller (30) makes a save on Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson (43) in the second period at Verizon Center in Washington D.C., on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. The Capitals won 4-1.

Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports

On the night Alex Ovechkin was honoured for his 500th goal, fellow Russian forward Evgeny Kuznetsov had two goals and an assist and the Washington Capitals beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 Thursday for their fifth straight victory.

Kuznetsov scored his 14th and 15th goals of the season and set up Tom Wilson on a night the Capitals got a rare goal from defenceman Karl Alzner and 29 saves from Braden Holtby.

Holtby has gotten the Capitals at least a point in each of his past 22 games and passed Don Beaupre for second in franchise history with his 129th win.

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In his return from an eight-game absence with a groin strain, Vancouver's Ryan Miller allowed three goals on 39 shots.

Radim Vrbata scored for the Canucks, who were beginning a six-game Eastern Conference trip.

Before the game, the Capitals celebrated Ovechkin becoming the 43rd player in NHL history to reach the 500-goal milestone. Fellow members of the 500 club Brett Hull, Peter Bondra, Sergei Fedorov, Pavel Bure, Pierre Turgeon, Luc Robitaille, Mike Gartner, Lanny McDonald, Jarome Iginla, Steve Yzerman, Phil Esposito, Teemu Selanne and Wayne Gretzky taped video messages for Ovechkin.

Washington owner Ted Leonsis presented Ovechkin with a custom engraved gold stick, and fans broke into chants of "Ovi, Ovi."

When the puck dropped, it was the Capitals' other highly-skilled Russian forward who stole the show. He opened the scoring 6:12 into the second period when he took a pass from Dmitry Orlov on a 2-on-1 rush and beat Miller with a backhander.

After an unsuccessful power play, the Capitals made it 2-0 12:03 into the second when Alzner spun around and shot from the point. It went high stick side on Miller for just Alzner's third goal of the season and 15th of his career.

Andre Burakovsky fed Alzner on that goal and then helped create Wilson's goal early in the third period. Burakovsky won a battle behind the net, and Kuznetsov dished a no-look pass to Wilson 1:37 in.

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Vrbata scored Vancouver's only goal 11:09 into the third on a 5-on-3 power play, tapping in a loose puck at the side of the net.

Kuznetsov added an empty-netter with 1.6 seconds left.

NOTES: The Capitals improved to 12-0-2 against Canadian teams this season. ... Canucks winger Jannik Hansen missed his third consecutive game with an upper-body injury. Defenceman Luca Sbisa missed his 18th consecutive game with a hand injury.

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